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Management of bleeding pseudoaneurysms in patients with pancreatitis

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Background: Bleeding pseudoaneurysm is a rare but frequently fatal complication in patients with pancreatitis.

Method: The medical records of ten patients who presented to this institution with a bleeding pseudoaneurysm between 1978 and 1997 were reviewed retrospectively. Six patients had chronic pancreatitis and four had acute pancreatitis. The splenic artery was involved in six cases, a pancreaticoduodenal artery in two, the gastroduodenal artery in one and the cystic artery in one.

Results: Computed tomography (CT) revealed the bleeding pseudoaneurysm in all patients (n = 6) with chronic pancreatitis but in only one of three with acute pancreatitis. Arteriography always gave the correct diagnosis. Seven patients underwent pancreatic resection as an emergency (n = 3) or within 48 h (n = 4), and survived. Three patients presenting with acute pancreatitis and massive bleeding underwent transcatheter arterial embolization. Two of them had a favourable outcome and one died from a recurrent haemorrhage 7 days later. Overall, two patients suffered significant perioperative complications and one died.

Conclusion: CT is accurate in the diagnosis of pseudoaneurysms complicating pseudocysts. Primary resection of the pseudoaneurysm, which frequently requires pancreatic resection, is the treatment of choice. Angiography followed by transcatheter embolization is effective, but should be rapidly followed by operation.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Clinic of Digestive Surgery, Department of Surgery, University Hospital of Geneva, Rue Micheli-du-Crest 24, 1211 Geneva 14, Switzerland

Publication date: January 1, 1999

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