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To evaluate the endpoints of complications (specifically pancreatic fistula and total complications) and death in patients undergoing pancreaticoduodenectomy.Four randomized, placebo-controlled, multicenter trials from Europe have evaluated prophylactic octreotide (the long-acting synthetic analog of native somatostatin) in patients undergoing pancreatic resection. Each trial reported significant decreases in overall complication rates, and two of the four reported significantly lowered rates of pancreatic fistula in patients receiving prophylactic octreotide. However, none of these four trials studied only pancreaticoduodenal resections, and all trials had high pancreatic fistula rates (>19%) in the placebo group. A fifth randomized trial from the United States evaluated the use of prophylactic octreotide in patients undergoing pancreaticoduodenectomy and found no benefit to the use of octreotide. Prophylactic use of octreotide adds more than $75 to the daily hospital charge in the United States. In calendar year 1996, 288 patients received octreotide on the surgical service at the authors’ institution, for total billed charges of $74,652.Between February 1998 and February 2000, 383 patients were recruited into this study on the basis of preoperative anticipation of pancreaticoduodenal resection. Patients who gave consent were randomized to saline control versus octreotide 250 μg subcutaneously every 8 hours for 7 days, to start 1 to 2 hours before surgery. The primary postoperative endpoints were pancreatic fistula, total complications, death, and length of hospital stay.Two hundred eleven patients underwent pancreaticoduodenectomy with pancreatic-enteric anastomosis, received appropriate saline/octreotide doses, and were available for endpoint analysis. The two groups were comparable with respect to demographics (54% male, median age 66 years), type of pancreaticoduodenal resection (60% pylorus-preserving), type of pancreatic-enteric anastomosis (87% end-to-side pancreaticojejunostomy), and pathologic diagnosis. The pancreatic fistula rates were 9% in the control group and 11% in the octreotide group. The overall complication rates were 34% in the control group and 40% in the octreotide group; the in-hospital death rates were 0% versus 1%, respectively. The median postoperative length of hospital stay was 9 days in both groups.These data demonstrate that the prophylactic use of perioperative octreotide does not reduce the incidence of pancreatic fistula or total complications after pancreaticoduodenectomy. Prophylactic octreotide use in this setting should be eliminated, at a considerable cost savings.