Early debridement for necrotizing pancreatitis: Is it worthwhile?

Eric S. Hungness, Bruce W. Robb, Connie Seeskin, Per Olof Hasselgren, Fred A. Luchette

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: The timing for debridement of necrotizing pancreatitis is controversial. We reviewed our experience with early and delayed surgical debridement in patients with necrotizing pancreatitis. STUDY DESIGN: The records of patients diagnosed with acute necrotizing pancreatitis from January 1993 through June 2000 were reviewed retrospectively. Data were analyzed with respect to Ranson's, APACHE II, and multiple organ failure scores, etiology, presence of infection, overall and ICU length of stay, time to first debridement, number of debridements, fluid requirements, days to enteral feeding, transfusion requirements, complications, and mortality. RESULTS: Twenty-six patients (18 males, 8 females, mean age 51 years) were diagnosed with acute necrotizing pancreatitis. The admission Ranson's score was 4.8, the APACHE II score was 11.7, and multiple organ failure score was 4.2. All but one patient underwent pancreatic debridement (4.3 debridements per patient). Eighteen patients (69%) had infected pancreatic necrosis. The timing of debridement was based on patients' condition and surgeon's preference. The presentation and demographics of patients who underwent early (< 2 weeks) or late (> 2 weeks) debridement did not differ significantly. Patients debrided early had a trend toward higher mortality (29% versus 18%) and experienced a higher number of major complications (p < 0.05). The six patients (23%) who died were older, had multiple organ failure scores, and more often had Candida in the infected necrosis (p < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Early debridement for acute necrotizing pancreatitis might not improve survival and might even be associated with increased number of complications. Most patients diagnosed with necrotizing pancreatitis eventually need debridement, but it might be beneficial to delay debridement if the patient's condition allows for it.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)740-744
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American College of Surgeons
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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