Objective: To describe a series of adult patients with annular pancreas, their presentation, and treatment modalities.
Method: A retrospective chart review of patients seen at a multispecialty referral center from 1977 to 1994.
Results: Seven adult patients (ages ranging from 33 to 77 yr, four females and three males) presented with various symptoms and signs: abdominal pain (six patients) gastric outlet obstruction (two), pancreatitis (two), pancreatic mass (two), gastric/duodenal ulcer (one), and/or postoperative obstructive jaundice (one). The duration of symptoms ranged from 1 wk to 16 yr before diagnosis (median 18 months). Upper GI radiography was consistent with annular pancreas in two cases, CT scan in two cases (neither of which actually depicted the annulus), and four of six successful endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatographies. Three patients were diagnosed during operative procedures. Five of the seven patients required therapeutic operative procedures that included transduodenal sphincteroplasty, duodenojejunostomy, gastrojejunostomy, subtotal gastrectomy, or Whipple procedure. Four of the five had significant symptomatic relief. In one case, endoscopic sphincterotomy and biliary stent placement was therapeutic.
Conclusions: 1) Annular pancreas occasionally presents in the adult population. 2) Although gastric outlet obstruction was seen in two of seven patients, a plethora of additional presentations included pancreatic mass, pancreatitis, peptic ulcer disease, and post-operative obstructive jaundice. 3) Diagnosis of annular pancreas was most commonly suggested by upper GI series or endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography. However, fully 40% of diagnoses required surgery for confirmation. 4) In contrast to the pediatric population in whom gastrojejunostomy or duodenojejunostomy is the treatment of choice, a variety of surgical as well as interventional endoscopic procedures were utilized for effective treatment in adults with annular pancreas.