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Disconnected pancreatic duct syndrome in severe acute pancreatitis: clinical and imaging characteristics and outcomes in a cohort of 31 cases.

BACKGROUND: Information regarding the natural history, clinical characteristics, and outcomes of disconnected pancreatic duct syndrome (DPDS) is limited.

OBJECTIVE: To describe clinical characteristics and outcomes of DPDS.

DESIGN: A retrospective review of the Mayo Clinic endoscopy and hospital service database.

SETTING: Tertiary-referral center.

PATIENTS: We identified 31 DPDS cases from 1999 to 2006.

INTERVENTIONS: Endoscopic drainage of pancreatic-fluid collections.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS: The relationship between demographic and clinical data with endoscopic treatment and clinical outcomes in DPDS cases.

RESULTS: The median patient age was 53 years (range 20-83 years); 48% were men. The most common etiology of acute pancreatitis (AP) was biliary (55%) followed by idiopathic (27%). The median interval between the diagnoses of AP and DPDS was 56 days (range 3-251 days); the median follow-up after the last ERCP or surgical procedure was 7 months (range 0-90 months). The DPDS location included the following: pancreas head 6%, neck 58%, body 26%, and tail 10%. Twenty-six patients had initial endoscopic treatment (19 had long-term improvement; 7 failed treatment and required surgery) and 5 underwent immediate surgery. Mortality was 0%; 26% developed chronic pancreatitis (CP) and 16% diabetes mellitus (DM); 10% resolved completely, 45% had smaller fluid collections, and 26% patients were lost to follow-up. No relationship between demographic and clinical data with endoscopic and clinical outcomes was found.

CONCLUSIONS: Endoscopic treatment temporarily improved DPDS, with a failure rate of 23%. Immediate surgery was not required in all cases. CP and/or pancreatic atrophy occurred relatively shortly after the DPDS diagnosis in 26% and DM in 16% of cases. DPDS did not lead to mortality. Early surgery may be considered after initially stabilizing the fluid collection with endoscopic therapy.

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