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Contemporary management of infected necrosis complicating severe acute pancreatitis.

Pancreatic necrosis complicating severe acute pancreatitis is a challenging scenario in contemporary critical care practice; it requires multidisciplinary care in a setting where there is a relatively limited evidence base to support decision making. This commentary provides a concise overview of current management of patients with infected necrosis, focusing on detection, the role of pharmacologic intervention, and the timing and nature of surgical interventions. Fine-needle aspiration of necrosis remains the mainstay for establishment of infection. Pharmacological intervention includes antibiotic therapy as an adjunct to surgical debridement/drainage and, more recently, drotrecogin alfa. Specific concerns remain regarding the suitability of drotrecogin alfa in this setting. Early surgical intervention is unhelpful; surgery is indicated when there is strong evidence for infection of necrotic tissue, with the current trend being toward 'less drastic' surgical interventions.

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