Acute pancreatitis has a broad clinical spectrum: from mild, self-limited disease to fulminant illness resulting in multi-organ failure leading to a prolonged clinical course with up to 30% mortality in case of infected necrosis. Management of local complications such as pseudocysts and walled-off necrosis may vary from clinical observation to interventional treatment procedures. Gram negative bacteria infection may develop in up to one-third of patients with pancreatic necrosis leading to a clinical deterioration with the onset of the systemic inflammatory response syndrome and organ failure. When feasible, an interventional treatment is indicated. Percutaneous or endoscopic drainage approach are the first choices. A combination of minimally invasive techniques (step-up approach) is possible in patients with large or multiple collections. Open surgical treatment has been revised both in the timing and in the operating modalities in the last decades. Since 1990s, the surgical treatment of infected necrosis shifted to a more conservative approach. Disruption of the main pancreatic duct is present in up to 50% of patients with pancreatic fluid collections. According to the location along the Wirsung, treatment may vary from percutaneous drainage, endoscopic retrograde pancreatography with sphincterectomy or stenting to traditional surgical procedures. Patients may suffer from vascular complications in up to 23% of cases. Tissue disruption provoked by lipolytic and proteolytic enzymes, iatrogenic complications during operative procedures, splenic vein thrombosis, and pseudoaneurysms are the pathophysiological determinants of bleeding. Interventional radiology is the first line treatment and when it fails or is not possible, an urgent surgical approach should be adopted. Chylous ascites, biliary strictures and duodenal stenosis are complications that, although uncommon and transient, may have different treatment modalities from non-operative, endoscopic to open surgery.
Part of the book: Recent Advances in Pancreatitis