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Necrotising pancreatitis is a challenging problem for the surgeon, as it is associated with considerable morbidity and mortality. The indications, timing of surgical intervention and type of procedure continue to be debated in an effort to improve the outcome of this devastating disease process.A retrospective analysis of early and long-term results in a series of 44 consecutive patients (34 men, 10 women, median age 46.5, range 13-74 years) who underwent necrosectomy for severe necrotising pancreatitis. In 16 patients necrosectomy and primary abdominal closure with drains was performed, 14 patients had planned staged necrosectomy and delayed abdominal closure with drains, and in 14 patients necrosectomy with open laparostomy was undertaken.There were 8 deaths (18%) and 14 cases (32%) of significant hospital morbidity (fistula 10, pseudocyst 2, renal failure 2). Variables which correlated with mortality were: high APACHE II score, acute renal failure requiring dialysis, and requirement for surgical intervention at an early stage (within the first two weeks). A total of 28 late complications occurred in 21 of the surviving patients (endocrine pancreatic insufficiency 10, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency 2, pseudocyst 2, chronic renal failure 2, incisional hernia 10, recurrent pancreatitis 1, and chronic pain 1).Low mortality can be achieved in patients with severe necrotizing pancreatitis with aggressive surgical intervention and careful perioperative management. Long-term morbidity remains high, and emphasises the need for prolonged follow-up.