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Evaluation of Drain Amylase Level after Pancreaticoduodenectomy with Special Reference to Delayed Pancreatic Fistula

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Postoperative pancreatic fistula (PF) is a relatively frequent and occasionally fatal complication of pancreatoduodenectomy (PD). Several risk factors for PF have been reported, including high drain amylase level (D-AMY). Among the 140 consecutive patients who underwent PD, we analyzed 110 cases with D-AMY measurements over time after PD. According to the D-AMY change, we divided patients into five patterns and defined delayed PF cases. We analyzed clinical characteristics, including serum amylase and D-AMY, and examined the correlation between the period of drain insertion and PF grade. In 15 delayed PF cases, 12 cases were grade B or C, pancreatic cancer was less frequent, pancreatic ducts were smaller, and soft pancreas texture was more commonly observed. The D-AMY on postoperative day (POD) 1 was higher in cases of delayed PF compared with non-PF cases (P < 0.0001). In 28 cases with drain removal before POD 7, grade B or C PF was not observed afterward. The average D-AMY on POD 1 in cases with drain removal before POD 1 was significantly lower than in delayed PF cases. Although further studies are required to determine the most appropriate timing of drain removal, it is thought that intra-abdominal drains should be removed within seven days of PD in cases without signs of PF. On the other hand, delayed PF should be considered in cases of soft pancreas texture and/or high D-AMY on POD 1, even if D-AMY levels are low on POD 3 or decreasing on POD 5.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Surgery, Hiroshima Red Cross Hospital and Atomic-bomb Survivors Hospital, Hiroshima, Japan

Publication date: March 1, 2018

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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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