Elevated Serum Creatinine as a Marker of Pancreatic Necrosis in Acute Pancreatitis

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Pancreatic necrosis is a serious complication of acute pancreatitis. The identification of simple laboratory tests to detect subjects at risk of pancreatic necrosis may direct management and improve outcome. This study focuses on the association between routine laboratory tests and the development of pancreatic necrosis in patients with acute pancreatitis.

METHODS:

In a cohort of 185 patients with acute pancreatitis prospectively enrolled in the Severity of Acute Pancreatitis Study, patients with contrast-enhanced computerized tomography performed were selected (n=129). Serum hematocrit, creatinine, and urea nitrogen on admission and peak values within 48h of admission were analyzed. The volume of intravenous fluid resuscitation was calculated for each patient.

RESULTS:

Of 129 patients, 35 (27%) had evidence of pancreatic necrosis. Receiver operating characteristic curves for pancreatic necrosis revealed an area under the curve of 0.79 for admission hematocrit, 0.77 for peak creatinine, and 0.72 for peak urea nitrogen. Binary logistic regression yielded that all three tests were significantly associated with pancreatic necrosis (P<0.0001), with the highest odds ratio, 34.5, for peak creatinine. The volume of intravenous fluid resuscitation was similar in patients with and without necrosis. Low admission hematocrit (≤44.8%) yielded a negative predictive value of 89%; elevated peak creatinine (>1.8mg/dl) within 48h yielded a positive predictive value of 93%.

CONCLUSIONS:

We confirm that a low admission hematocrit indicates a low risk of pancreatic necrosis (PNec) in patients with acute pancreatitis. In contrast, an increase in creatinine within the first 48h is strongly associated with the development of PNec. This finding may have important clinical implications and warrants further investigation.

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