Infectious complications following duodenal and/or pancreatic trauma

J G Tyburski, C J Dente, R F Wilson, C Shanti, C P Steffes, A Carlin
American Surgeon 2001, 67 (3): 227-30; discussion 230-1
Patients with pancreatic and/or duodenal trauma often have a high incidence of infectious complications. In this study we attempted to find the most important risk factors for these infections. A retrospective review of the records of 167 patients seen over 7 years (1989 through 1996) at an urban Level I trauma center for injury to the duodenum and/or pancreas was performed. Fifty-nine patients (35%) had isolated injury to the duodenum (13 blunt, 46 penetrating), 81 (49%) had isolated pancreatic trauma (18 blunt, 63 penetrating), and 27 (16%) had combined injuries (two blunt, 25 penetrating). The overall mortality rate was 21 per cent and the infectious morbidity rate was 40 per cent. The majority of patients had primary repair and/or drainage as treatment of their injuries. Patients with pancreatic injuries (alone or combined with a duodenal injury) had a much higher infection rate than duodenal injuries. The patients with duodenal injuries had significantly lower penetrating abdominal trauma indices, number of intra-abdominal organ injuries, and incidence of hypothermia. On multivariate analysis independent factors associated with infections included hypothermia and the presence of a pancreatic injury. Although injuries to the pancreas and duodenum often coexist it is the pancreatic injury that contributes most to the infectious morbidity.

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