Postoperative infections represent a major determinant of outcome after pancreaticoduodenectomy: Results from a high-volume center

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Despite improvements in perioperative care, mortality and morbidity rates associated with pancreatic operation still reach 2% and >50%, respectively. Infectious complications after pancreaticoduodenectomy occur in about one-third of the cases. The aim of the study is to define the real burden of infectious complications after pancreaticoduodenectomy and to analyze the risk factors associated with their onset.


Data of consecutive pancreaticoduodenectomies performed at the authors' institution from January 2011 to June 2016 were retrieved from a prospectively maintained database. Based on the presence of infectious complications, the population was separated into 2 groups (infection group positive [IG+] and infection group negative [IG−]) and then compared.


During the study period 893 pancreaticoduodenectomies were performed. Overall, infectious complications were detected in 409 out of 893 patients (45.8%). Preoperative biliary drain was the only independent preoperative risk factor for the development of infectious complications (P < .001, odds ratio 3.8). Each complication was found to be statistically more frequent in IG+. In addition, IG+ also had a prolonged hospital stay (P < .020, odds ratio 1.1) and all deaths occurred in this group. The overall multisite infection rate was 41.6%. Multidrug-resistant bacteria were detected in 78.5% of patients. The development of multisite infection was the best predictor of outcome after pancreaticoduodenectomy.


The development of postoperative infectious complications is a major determinant of outcome after pancreaticoduodenectomy. In this setting, the reliable negative predictors of the outcome include preoperative biliary drain, site of infection, multidrug-resistant bacteria infections and type of bacteria. Multisite infection was found to be the best predictor of a worse postoperative course after pancreaticoduodenectomy.

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