Endoscopic transgastric vs surgical necrosectomy for infected necrotizing pancreatitis: a randomized trial

JAMA. 2012 Mar 14;307(10):1053-61. doi: 10.1001/jama.2012.276.


Context: Most patients with infected necrotizing pancreatitis require necrosectomy. Surgical necrosectomy induces a proinflammatory response and is associated with a high complication rate. Endoscopic transgastric necrosectomy, a form of natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery, may reduce the proinflammatory response and reduce complications.

Objective: To compare the proinflammatory response and clinical outcome of endoscopic transgastric and surgical necrosectomy.

Design, setting, and patients: Randomized controlled assessor-blinded clinical trial in 3 academic hospitals and 1 regional teaching hospital in The Netherlands between August 20, 2008, and March 3, 2010. Patients had signs of infected necrotizing pancreatitis and an indication for intervention.

Interventions: Random allocation to endoscopic transgastric or surgical necrosectomy. Endoscopic necrosectomy consisted of transgastric puncture, balloon dilatation, retroperitoneal drainage, and necrosectomy. Surgical necrosectomy consisted of video-assisted retroperitoneal debridement or, if not feasible, laparotomy.

Main outcome measures: The primary end point was the postprocedural proinflammatory response as measured by serum interleukin 6 (IL-6) levels. Secondary clinical end points included a predefined composite end point of major complications (new-onset multiple organ failure, intra-abdominal bleeding, enterocutaneous fistula, or pancreatic fistula) or death.

Results: We randomized 22 patients, 2 of whom did not undergo necrosectomy following percutaneous catheter drainage and could not be analyzed for the primary end point. Endoscopic transgastric necrosectomy reduced the postprocedural IL-6 levels compared with surgical necrosectomy (P = .004). The composite clinical end point occurred less often after endoscopic necrosectomy (20% vs 80%; risk difference [RD], 0.60; 95% CI, 0.16-0.80; P = .03). Endoscopic necrosectomy did not cause new-onset multiple organ failure (0% vs 50%, RD, 0.50; 95% CI, 0.12-0.76; P = .03) and reduced the number of pancreatic fistulas (10% vs 70%; RD, 0.60; 95% CI, 0.17-0.81; P = .02).

Conclusion: In patients with infected necrotizing pancreatitis, endoscopic necrosectomy reduced the proinflammatory response as well as the composite clinical end point compared with surgical necrosectomy.

Trial registration: isrctn.org Identifier: ISRCTN07091918.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Capsule Endoscopy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infections / complications
  • Inflammation / prevention & control*
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Laparotomy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Natural Orifice Endoscopic Surgery / methods*
  • Pancreatitis, Acute Necrotizing / complications
  • Pancreatitis, Acute Necrotizing / surgery*
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Biomarkers
  • Interleukin-6

Associated data

  • ISRCTN/ISRCTN07091918