Characterization and Optimal Management of High-risk Pancreatic Anastomoses During Pancreatoduodenectomy

Ann Surg. 2018 Apr;267(4):608-616. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0000000000002327.


Objective: The aim of this study was to identify the optimal fistula mitigation strategy following pancreaticoduodenectomy.

Background: The utility of technical strategies to prevent clinically relevant postoperative pancreatic fistula (CR-POPF) following pancreatoduodenectomy (PD) may vary by the circumstances of the anastomosis. The Fistula Risk Score (FRS) identifies a distinct high-risk cohort (FRS 7 to 10) that demonstrates substantially worse clinical outcomes. The value of various fistula mitigation strategies in these particular high-stakes cases has not been previously explored.

Methods: This multinational study included 5323 PDs performed by 62 surgeons at 17 institutions. Mitigation strategies, including both technique related (ie, pancreatogastrostomy reconstruction; dunking; tissue patches) and the use of adjuvant strategies (ie, intraperitoneal drains; anastomotic stents; prophylactic octreotide; tissue sealants), were evaluated using multivariable regression analysis and propensity score matching.

Results: A total of 522 (9.8%) PDs met high-risk FRS criteria, with an observed CR-POPF rate of 29.1%. Pancreatogastrostomy, prophylactic octreotide, and omission of externalized stents were each associated with an increased rate of CR-POPF (all P < 0.001). In a multivariable model accounting for patient, surgeon, and institutional characteristics, the use of external stents [odds ratio (OR) 0.45, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 0.25-0.81] and the omission of prophylactic octreotide (OR 0.49, 95% CI 0.30-0.78) were independently associated with decreased CR-POPF occurrence. In the propensity score matched cohort, an "optimal" mitigation strategy (ie, externalized stent and no prophylactic octreotide) was associated with a reduced rate of CR-POPF (13.2% vs 33.5%, P < 0.001).

Conclusions: The scenarios identified by the high-risk FRS zone represent challenging anastomoses associated with markedly elevated rates of fistula. Externalized stents and omission of prophylactic octreotide, in the setting of intraperitoneal drainage and pancreaticojejunostomy reconstruction, provides optimal outcomes.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Anastomosis, Surgical / adverse effects
  • Drainage
  • Gastrointestinal Agents / adverse effects
  • Gastrointestinal Agents / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Octreotide / adverse effects
  • Octreotide / therapeutic use
  • Pancreatic Fistula / prevention & control*
  • Pancreaticoduodenectomy / adverse effects*
  • Pancreaticoduodenectomy / methods*
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Stents


  • Gastrointestinal Agents
  • Octreotide