Pancreatic or peripancreatic tissue necrosis confers substantial morbidity and mortality. New modalities have created a wide variation in approaches and timing of interventions for necrotizing pancreatitis. As acute care surgery evolves, its practitioners are increasingly being called upon to manage these complex patients.METHODS
A systematic review of the MEDLINE database using PubMed was performed. English language articles regarding pancreatic necrosis from 1980 to 2014 were included. Letters to the editor, case reports, book chapters, and review articles were excluded. Topics of investigation included operative timing, the use of adjuvant therapy and the type of operative repair. Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluations methodology was applied to question development, outcome prioritization, evidence quality assessments, and recommendation creation.RESULTS
Eighty-eight studies were included and underwent full review. Increasing the time to surgical intervention had an improved outcome in each of the periods evaluated (72 hours, 12–14 days, 30 days) with a significant improvement in outcomes if surgery was delayed 30 days. The use of percutaneous and endoscopic procedures was shown to postpone surgery and potentially be definitive. The use of minimally invasive surgery for debridement and drainage has been shown to be safe and associated with reduced morbidity and mortality.CONCLUSION
Acute Care Surgeons are uniquely trained to care for those with pancreatic necrosis due their training in critical care and complex surgery with ongoing shock. In adult patients with pancreatic necrosis, we recommend that pancreatic necrosectomy be delayed until at least day 12. During the first 30 days of symptoms with infected necrotic collections, we conditionally recommend surgical debridement only if the patients fail to improve after radiologic or endoscopic drainage. Finally, even with documented infected necrosis, we recommend that patients undergo a step-up approach to surgical intervention as the preferred surgical approach.Level of Evidence
Systematic review/guideline, level III.