Aim of the study: To describe a technique of percutaneous CT guided catheter drainage of infected pancreatic necrosis and to report the results of this technique compared with those of the conventional surgical treatment and of other percutaneous drainage series.
Patients and methods: Between 1992 and 1997, the series included 32 patients who had a severe acute necrotizing pancreatitis with a mean Ranson score of 4.6, scored into grade D (n = 10), and grade E (n = 22), according to the Balthazar radiological staging. Modified Van Sonnenberg 24 F double lumen catheters were used for continuous irrigation and aspiration.
Results: Forty-nine drains were inserted for 41 infected necroses and eight abscesses. Among the 32 patients, the proof of infected necrosis was obtained in 26 patients by fine needle aspiration and culture (enterococcus, staphylococcus, pseudomonas). The average delay of catheter insertion was 23 days after onset of pancreatitis; the mean duration of drainage was 43 days, and an average of three catheters per patient was required. Five patients (15%) died, and among the survivors, 16 (59%) presented 21 complications including 14 enterocutaneous or pancreatic fistulas. A subsequent surgical procedure including two necrosectomies was necessary in six patients.
Conclusion: This study demonstrates that percutaneous drainage of infected pancreatic necrosis with a 15% mortality and 70% success rate, represents an interesting alternative to conventional surgery.