Indolent Presentation of Pancreatic Abscess: Experience With 100 Cases

Aaron S. Fink, Jonathan R. Hiatt, Henry A. Pitt, Robert S. Bennion, Luis R. Desouza, Robin D. McCoy, James H. Meyer, Jesse E. Thompson, Joseph L. Webster, Samuel E. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


One hundred cases of pancreatic abscess were identified at five hospitals affiliated with UCLA between 1973 and 1985. Patients were included if a pancreatic mass or phlegmon followed an episode of pancreatitis, if the clinical impression was pancreatic abscess, and if drainage cultures were positive. Less than three Ranson's signs were present on admission in 72% of patients. The admission temperature was less than 38.3°C in 71% of patients, and 27% of patients never had a fever. Abdominal tenderness was absent in 40% of patients. The admission amylase concentrations and white blood cell counts were normal in 36% and 23% of patients, respectively. Extensive débridement, external drainage, and a low threshold for reoperation were the mainstays of surgical therapy. Twenty patients (20%) died, but Ranson's signs did not predict outcome. Pancreatic abscess may have an insidious presentation. A high index of suspicion, early computed tomographic scanning, and diagnostic needle aspiration may be necessary to establish this diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1067-1072
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of surgery
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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