REVIEW
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Management of severe acute pancreatitis.

BACKGROUND: Acute pancreatitis is still associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Current management guidelines are sometimes equivocal, particularly in relation to the surgical treatment of severe disease. This review assesses available investigative and treatment strategies to allow the development of a formalized management approach.

METHODS: A literature review of diagnosis, staging and management of acute pancreatitis was performed.

RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: Recent evidence has helped to clarify the roles of computed tomography, endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, prophylactic antibiotics, enteral feeding and fine-needle aspiration for bacteriology in the management of acute pancreatitis. Despite a relative shortage of prospective randomized trials there has been a significant change in the surgical management of acute pancreatitis over the past 20 years. This change has been away from early aggressive surgical intervention towards more conservative management, except when infected necrosis is confirmed. A formalized approach, with appropriate use of the various non-surgical and surgical options, is feasible in the management of severe acute pancreatitis.

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