To determine whether interventional radiology (IR) or laparotomy (LAP) is the best management of delayed postoperative hemorrhage (DPH) after pancreaticoduodenectomy.
We undertook an electronic search of MEDLINE and selected for analysis only original articles published between January 1, 1990, and December 31, 2007.
Two of us independently selected studies reporting on clinical presentation and incidence of postoperative DPH and the following outcomes: complete hemostasis, morbidity, and mortality.
Two of us independently performed data extraction. Data were entered and analyzed by means of dedicated software from The Cochrane Collaboration. A random-effects meta-analytical technique was used for analysis.
One hundred sixty-three cases of DPH after pancreaticoduodenectomy were identified from the literature. The incidence of DPH after pancreaticoduodenectomy was 3.9%. Seventy-seven patients (47.2%) underwent LAP; 73 (44.8%), IR; and 13 (8%), conservative treatment. On meta-analysis comparing LAP vs IR for DPH, no significant difference was found between the 2 treatment options for complete hemostasis (73% vs 76%; P = .23), mortality (43% vs 20%; P = .14), or morbidity (77% vs 35%; P = .06).
This meta-analysis, although based on data from small case series, is unable to demonstrate any significant difference between LAP and IR in the management of DPH after pancreaticoduodenectomy. The management of this life-threatening complication is difficult, and the appropriate treatment pathway ultimately will be decided by the clinical status of the patient and the institution preference.