Pancreatic infection in severe pancreatitis: the role of fungus and multiresistant organisms

Arch Surg. 2001 May;136(5):592-6. doi: 10.1001/archsurg.136.5.592.


Hypothesis: Recent controlled clinical studies suggest a positive effect of early antibiotic treatment on late morbidity and mortality in severe acute pancreatitis. However, widespread use of antibiotics may lead to an increased number of fungal infections and multiresistant bacteria, thereby worsening the outcome of the disease.

Design: Single-center prospective study.

Setting: University hospital, gastrointestinal surgical service.

Patients: One hundred three patients with necrotizing pancreatitis seen consecutively in our service.

Interventions: In addition to standard treatment, patients with proven necrotizing pancreatitis received a prophylactic intravenous antibiotic treatment. Pancreatic infection was regarded as an indication for surgery.

Main outcome measures: Pancreatic infection, microbiological findings, drug resistance, fungal infections.

Results: Thirty-three patients (32%) had infected necrosis. Gram-negative organisms were isolated from 19 patients (58%), Gram-positive organisms were isolated from 18 patients (55%), fungal organisms were isolated from 8 patients (24%), and multiresistant organisms were isolated from 3 patients (9%). In 7 patients (21%), the organisms cultured from the pancreatic tissue were resistant to the antibiotics given in for prophylaxis. Infection with multiresistant organisms or organisms resistant to the antibiotic used for prophylaxis, but not with fungal infection or Gram-positive or Gram-negative infection, was correlated with a negative outcome.

Conclusions: Fungal infection under adequate treatment is not associated with a negative outcome. The occurrence of multiresistant organisms seems to be a rare finding (3 of 103 patients). Antibiotic prophylaxis is effective in preventing infection in necrotizing pancreatitis, but optimal choice and duration of administration of the antibiotic agent(s) need to be carefully determined to avoid the sequelae of multiresistant organisms.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cholangiopancreatography, Endoscopic Retrograde
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mycoses / complications
  • Pancreatic Diseases / complications*
  • Pancreatic Diseases / microbiology
  • Pancreatitis, Acute Necrotizing / complications*
  • Pancreatitis, Acute Necrotizing / microbiology
  • Prospective Studies