Factors predicting mortality in severe acute pancreatitis

Pancreatology. 2003;3(2):144-8. doi: 10.1159/000070083.


Acute pancreatitis (AP) is a common disorder in which ensuing serious complications may lead to a fatal outcome in patients.

Background/aims: To describe a large series of patients with severe AP (SAP) who were admitted to our hospital and to identify factors predicting mortality.

Patients and methods: In a retrospective study, all patients with SAP diagnosed between February 1996 and October 2000 according to the Atlanta criteria were studied.

Results: Out of a total of 363 AP patients, 67 developed SAP. The mean age of the patients was 69; the commonest etiology was biliary; 55.2% developed necrosis; the commonest systemic complication was respiratory failure (44.7%), followed by acute renal failure (35.8%) and shock (20.9%). A total of 31.3% of the patients died. Factors significantly related to mortality were age, upper digestive tract bleeding, acute renal failure, respiratory failure and shock by univariate analysis. However, pseudocysts seemed to have a protective effect. By multivariate analysis, independent prognostic factors were age, acute renal failure and respiratory failure.

Conclusions: Patients with SAP mainly died due to systemic complications, especially acute renal failure and respiratory failure. Necrosis (in the absence or presence of infection) was not correlated with increased mortality. A pseudocyst was found to be a protective factor, probably because the definition itself led to the selection of patients who had survived multiorgan failure.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pancreatitis / mortality*
  • Pancreatitis / pathology
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Assessment