Factors Influencing Mortality in Patients Undergoing Surgery for Acute Pancreatitis: Importance of Peripancreatic Tissue and Fluid Infection

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The aims of present study were to analyze the mortality risk factors in patients who had surgery for acute pancreatitis and to assess the importance of culturing peripancreatic tissue or fluid infection to ascertain the infection status.


Surgery was indicated both in patients with infected severe acute pancreatitis and in those with sterile pancreatitis with an unfavorable course. During surgery, cultures were taken of tissues (pancreatic necrosis and peripancreatic fat), intra-abdominal fluid, and bile.


Of 107 patients operated on, fluid culture was analyzed in 94 patients, pancreatic necrosis in 61 patients, peripancreatic fat in 39 patients, and bile in 38 patients. Sterile pancreatitis with sterile ascites was found in 17 patients, sterile pancreatitis with infected ascites in 22, and pancreatic tissue infection in 60. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that sterile tissue cultures, age over 65 years, and fewer than 12 days between the beginning of pain and surgery were risk factors for mortality. Sterile pancreatitis with sterile ascites and sterile pancreatitis with infected ascites had similar postoperative mortality (41% and 50%, respectively); the group with pancreatic tissue infection had a lower mortality (20%).


Early surgery, advanced age, and sterility of tissue cultures have been demonstrated as mortality factors for acute pancreatitis. Intra-abdominal fluid may be infected in the presence of sterile necrosis.

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