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Should Elective Surgery for Chronic Pancreatitis Be Performed in High-Risk Patients?

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As morbidity and mortality rates for pancreatic surgery have improved over the past decades, patients with major medical comorbidities have been considered for operative treatment. The influence of poor health status on operative morbidity in patients with chronic pancreatitis is evaluated in this study. The records of 313 consecutive patients who underwent pancreaticoduodenectomy (n = 78), distal pancreatectomy (n = 83), or lateral pancreaticojejunostomy (n = 152) for chronic pancreatitis were retrospectively reviewed and analyzed. Patients' risk for adverse outcome resulting from overall health status was audited using age, comorbidities, and Physiological and Operative Severity Score for the enUmeration of Mortality and morbidity (POSSUM) physiological score. Univariate analysis showed that patient's age did not contribute to change in morbidity (odds ratio [OR] = 1.01, P = 0.59). The presence of cardiac disease but not other comorbidities increased adverse outcome affected the need for intensive care unit stay and length of hospital stay (morbidity: 29% vs. 51%, OR = 2.6, P = 0.003). POSSUM physiological score was associated with an increase in morbidity and mortality (morbidity: OR = 1.16, P = 0.001; mortality: OR = 1.49, P = 0.001), in particular intraabdominal abscesses. Multivariate analysis showed that the only variable independently correlating with perioperative complications was POSSUM physiological score. Single comorbidities do not independently influence outcome after operations for chronic pancreatitis. A combination of several comorbidities is associated with an increase in postoperative infectious morbidity and mortality. High-risk patients should not be excluded from operative treatment, but need to be closely selected on a case-by-case basis.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: From the Department of Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina

Publication date: July 1, 2006

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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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