Operative management of chronic pancreatitis: longterm results in 372 patients.

Research paper by Thomas T Schnelldorfer, David N DN Lewin, David B DB Adams

Indexed on: 08 May '07Published on: 08 May '07Published in: Journal of The American College of Surgeons


Operative treatment of chronic pancreatitis is indicated for patients with intractable pain after failed medical and endoscopic treatment, or for the presence of complications of the disease. This study evaluates a single-center experience with operative management of chronic pancreatitis.The records of 372 consecutive patients who underwent lateral pancreaticojejunostomy (n = 184), pancreaticoduodenectomy (n = 97), or distal pancreatectomy (n = 91) for chronic pancreatitis between 1995 and 2003 were retrospectively reviewed and analyzed. Longterm outcomes were assessed by patient survey, with a median followup of 5.5 +/- 0.2 years.Primary indication for operative treatment included intractable pain (n = 215), pancreatic duct disruption (n = 109), inflammatory mass (n = 42), or biliary obstruction (n = 6). Perioperative morbidity was 22%, 51%, and 29% after lateral pancreaticojejunostomy, pancreaticoduodenectomy, and distal pancreatectomy, respectively, with a perioperative mortality rate of 1%. Two hundred twenty-eight patients were available for longterm followup. Fifty-eight patients (25%) died in the followup period. Twenty-four percent of the remaining 170 patients were pain free, and 25% had good pain control after the procedure. On multivariate analysis, risk factors for poor pain control were pancreaticoduodenectomy (p < 0.01), preoperative narcotic dependence (p < 0.02), earlier abdominal operations (p < 0.02), and an absent history of gallstone pancreatitis (p < 0.05). Sixty-two percent returned to work. Quality of life assessed by SF-36 version 2 questionnaire showed norm-based scores between the 35th and 46th percentile and slightly below, but not substantially different from, a general population. New onset of endocrine and exocrine insufficiency was present in 35% and 29% of patients, respectively.Operative management of chronic pancreatitis can be performed with low mortality and acceptable morbidity. Surgical treatment can provide good pain control, return patients to work, and achieve a satisfactory quality of life in the majority of patients. Longterm mortality is high in a subset of patients.