Objective: To evaluate the short and long-term results of surgical treatment of calcifying chronic pancreatitis in our center.
Patients and methods: We studied 55 consecutive patients operated on for chronic calcifying pancreatitis during a period of 12 years. The mean follow-up period was 6.2 years. Main outcome measures were operative mortality and morbidity, degree of pain control, diabetes onset, survival, and causes of death.
Results: The etiology was alcoholic in 48 patients and idiopathic in seven patients. A resection was performed in 78% of cases and a by-pass procedure was performed in 22%. Operative mortality was 3.6%; morbidity was 21.8%. A ductal adenocarcinoma was found in 3.6% of cases. The alcohol withdrawal rate was 78%. Complete pain control was achieved in 71.4% of the patients. Among diabetes, cirrhosis, type of surgery, smoking and alcohol abuse history, only alcohol withdrawal was associated with pain control (p < 0.03). A late reintervention was needed in only one patient in the by-pass group. Five and 10-year survival rates for the entire population were 80% and 61%, respectively. Among alcohol, cirrhosis, diabetes, and type of surgery, only the former was associated with survival (p < 0.003). Five-year actuarial survival was 55.6% for patients who continued drinking compared with 86.3% for ex-alcoholics.
Conclusions: Surgical resection should be performed when required by the anatomical conditions because it was associated with good long-term pain control and low postoperative and late morbidity. Alcohol withdrawal has a key role for effective control of pain and prolonged survival.