JOURNAL ARTICLE

Necrotizing pancreatitis: diagnosis, imaging, and intervention

Jeffrey Y Shyu, Nisha I Sainani, V Anik Sahni, Jeffrey F Chick, Nikunj R Chauhan, Darwin L Conwell, Thomas E Clancy, Peter A Banks, Stuart G Silverman
Radiographics: a Review Publication of the Radiological Society of North America, Inc 2014, 34 (5): 1218-39
25208277
Acute necrotizing pancreatitis is a severe form of acute pancreatitis characterized by necrosis in and around the pancreas and is associated with high rates of morbidity and mortality. Although acute interstitial edematous pancreatitis is diagnosed primarily on the basis of signs, symptoms, and laboratory test findings, the diagnosis and severity assessment of acute necrotizing pancreatitis are based in large part on imaging findings. On the basis of the revised Atlanta classification system of 2012, necrotizing pancreatitis is subdivided anatomically into parenchymal, peripancreatic, and combined subtypes, and temporally into clinical early (within 1 week of onset) and late (>1 week after onset) phases. Associated collections are categorized as "acute necrotic" or "walled off" and can be sterile or infected. Imaging, primarily computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging, plays an essential role in the diagnosis of necrotizing pancreatitis and the identification of complications, including infection, bowel and biliary obstruction, hemorrhage, pseudoaneurysm formation, and venous thrombosis. Imaging is also used to help triage patients and guide both temporizing and definitive management. A "step-up" method for the management of necrotizing pancreatitis that makes use of imaging-guided percutaneous catheter drainage of fluid collections prior to endoscopic or surgical necrosectomy has been shown to improve clinical outcomes. The authors present an algorithmic approach to the care of patients with necrotizing pancreatitis and review the use of imaging and interventional techniques in the diagnosis and management of this pathologic condition.

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