JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Surgical treatment of pancreas divisum causing chronic pancreatitis: the outcome benefits of duodenum-preserving pancreatic head resection.

Pancreas divisum (PD) represents a duct anomaly in the pancreatic head ducts, leading frequently leading to recurrent acute pancreatitis (rAP) or chronic pancreatitis (CP). Based on endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, pancreas divisum can be found in 1% to 6% of patients with pancreatitis. The correlation of this abnormality with pancreatic disease is an issue of continuing controversy. Because of the underlying duct anomalies and major pathomorphological changes in the pancreatic head, duodenum-preserving pancreatic head resection (DPPHR) offers an option for causal treatment. Thirty-six patients with pancreatitis caused by PD were treated surgically. Thirty patients suffered from CP, 6 from rAP. The mean duration of the disease was 47.5 and 49.8 months, respectively. The age at the time of surgery was 39.2 years in the CP group, and 27.6 years in the rAP group. Median hospitalization since diagnosis was 18.8 weeks for CP patients and 24.6 weeks for rAP patients. Previous procedures performed in these patients included endoscopic papillotomy (30%), duct stenting (14%), and surgical treatment (17%). The median preoperative pain score was 8 on a visual analog scale. According to the classification of pancreas divisum, 10 patients demonstrated a complete PD, 25 had a functionally incomplete PD, and 1 had a dorsal duct type. The pain status as well as the endocrine (oral glucose tolerance test) and exocrine (pancreolauryl test) function were evaluated preoperatively and early and late postoperatively with a median follow-up time of 39.3 months. There was no operative-related mortality. The follow-up was 100%; 4 patients died (1 from suicide, 1 from cardiac arrest, and 2 from cancer of the esophagus). Fifty percent of the patients were completely pain-free, 31% had a significant reduction of pain with a median pain score of 2 (P < 0.001). Six patients (5 CP, 1 rAP) had further attacks of acute pancreatitis with a need for hospitalization. DPPHR reduced pain and preserved the endocrine function in the majority of patients with pancreas divisum. Therefore, DPPHR is an alternative to other resective or drainage procedures after failure of interventional treatment.

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