Acute pancreatitis in the elderly: a cause for increased concern?

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Abstract

Background

Acute pancreatitis (AP) is an aggressive and potentially fatal clinical condition. Although all age groups are at risk, the elderly may be a group of special concern. We aimed at evaluating clinical outcomes of patients with elderly-onset AP.

Materials and methods

Using a single-center retrospective database, treatment and follow-up records of 550 patients admitted with AP were reviewed. Outcomes included mortality, admission to the ICU, need for interventional procedures, nutritional support, and length of hospital and ICU stay. Elderly-onset AP was defined as an episode of AP occurring in patients older than 65 years.

Results

A total of 263 patients were classified as having elderly-onset AP. There was an association between older age and higher Ranson and the bedside index of severity in AP scores, translating into longer lengths of hospital stay, higher requirements for ICU admission, interventional procedures, organ failure, persistent organ failure, and overall mortality. In multivariate analysis, age was an independent predictor of mortality in AP.

Conclusions

Age was strongly associated with a more severe course of AP. Early recognition and prompt action are essential to improve outcomes in this population.

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