[Importance of a clinical protocol in the treatment of severe acute pancreatitis]

G Pupelis, E Austrums, K Snippe
Zentralblatt Für Chirurgie 2002, 127 (11): 975-81

BACKGROUND: Selection of the optimal treatment strategy in severe acute pancreatitis (SAP) is a serious clinical challenge largely due to difficult differential diagnosis of patients with early SAP. The aim of this study is a retrospective evaluation of the first experiences in the treatment of patients with SAP and early SAP according to a new complex clinical protocol (CCP).

METHODS: A total of 210 patients complied with Atlanta recommendations for SAP and were included in the retrospective study. Patients were stratified into two groups according to the diagnostic and treatment strategy. Non-protocol (NP) group comprised 154 patients who had received their treatment based on previous clinical routine and subjective decision of physicians in charge. 56 patients who were managed according to the new CCP developed for SAP comprised the CCP group. CCP included:- Early assessment of the severity of acute pancreatitis (APACHE II score, presence of SIRS and/or organ dysfunction); - Immediate ICU monitoring including routine measurement of the intraabdominal pressure; - Conservative treatment including early enteral nutrition, colloids, antibacterial prophylaxis and early continuous venovenous hemofiltration (CVVHF) when indicated; - Surgical treatment when conservative treatment was not effective (progression of the organ dysfunction) or presence of infection was evident. Hospital, ICU stays and outcomes were analysed. Statistical comparison was done by Mann-Whitney U-test and Chi-square test.

RESULTS: The age structure and severity of the disease were similar in both groups with mean of 51.3 (15.6) vs. 46.8 (15.2) years and 9.7 (5.1) vs. 9.8 (4.4) APACHE II points in groups NP and CCP, respectively. Male/female ratio was 2 : 1, and alcohol was the main etiologic factor in about 55 % of cases in both groups. Early SAP was diagnosed in 33 % to 46 % of patients according to the results of the SOFA scoring. The results of the conservative therapy considerably improved after implementation of the CCP treatment. Surgical intervention was done in 46-52 % of patients. MODS was the main cause of death in both groups. Remarkable decrease in early mortality (within the first week from admission) was a real advantage of CCP treatment comprising 1.8 % vs. 22.1 % in NP patients, p < 0.01. Mortality from early SAP was reduced by CCP treatment to 3.8 % compared to 33 % in NP group, p < 0.01. There was a considerable reduction in postoperative mortality with CCP treatment comprising 10.3 % vs. 32.7 % in patients who did not receive CCP treatment, p < 0.05. Overall mortality associated with CCP treatment ranged to 5 %, compared to 34 % mortality in the NP treatment group, p < 0.01. Due to the considerable number of early deaths among NP patients, there was statistically longer ICU and hospital stay in CP group with mean of 14.1 (14.1) vs. 9.6 (15.2) days and 37.9 (26.7) vs. 23.4 (21.8) days, compared to NP group, p < 0.01.

CONCLUSIONS: Timely recognition and complex therapy of SAP including ICU monitoring, colloids, antibacterial prophylaxis, early enteral nutrition, and CVVHF is the most effective way how to manage this category of patients. Implementation of a specialised treatment protocol considerably improves outcome and reduces the number of deaths associated with surgery and early SAP.

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