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A Simple Algorithm for Drain Management after Pancreaticoduodenectomy

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Pancreatic fistula (PF) continues to be the Achilles’ heel of pancreaticoduodenectomy (PD) with both morbidity and mortality linked to its occurrence. The optimal drain management strategy after PD remains unclear. We evaluated drain amylase (DA) levels on postoperative Day (POD) 0 to 5 in 76 consecutive patients undergoing PD to determine the patterns associated with PF. Of these 76 patients, eight patients (11%) developed Grade A, B, or C PF by International Study Group of Pancreatic Fistula criteria. POD 1 DA levels correlated closely with PF rates when high (greater than 5000 U/L, 100% PF rate) and low (less than 100 U/L, 2% PF rate). In patients with intermediate POD 1 DA (100 to 5000 U/L), 42 and 74 per cent had low DA levels on POD 3 and 5, respectively, and the PF rate was four of 31 (13%). Overall, the temporal pattern of decreasing DA levels after PD correlates closely with the risk of PF, and only two patients (5%) developed PF after early DA levels had normalized. Based on these data, we propose an algorithm of monitoring DA daily with drain removal when the level is less than 100 U/L. In our patient group drain removal would have occurred on a mean of 1.8 days and median 1 day after surgery.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Surgery, Comprehensive Transplant Center, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California, USA

Publication date: October 1, 2012

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  • The Southeastern Surgical Congress owns and publishes The American Surgeon monthly. It is the official journal of the Congress and the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, which all members receive each month. The journal brings up to date clinical advances in surgical knowledge in a popular reference format. In addition to publishing papers presented at the annual meetings of the associated organizations, the journal publishes selected unsolicited manuscripts. If you have a manuscript you'd like to see published in The American Surgeon select "Information for Authors" from the Related Information options below. A Copyright Release Form must accompany all manuscripts submitted.
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