Acute pancreatitis occurring as a postoperative phenomenon is a serious and often disastrous complication. Most commonly it follows biliary tract or gastric operations, but occasionally it occurs after splenectomy, and in rare instances after operations in which there has been no possibility of direct injury to the pancreas or interference with its blood supply. Although relatively infrequent, it has been an important factor in the mortality of biliary tract and gastroduodenal surgery. Unfortunately there is no clear understanding of the pathogenesis of pancreatitis in this form. It is possible that a different mechanism or a combination of more than one are responsible under varying situations. Thirty such cases have been diagnosed on the surgical service of the Ohio State University Hospital, and these will be reviewed from the standpoint of clinical features, pathogenesis, and mortality.
The diagnosis in all cases has been made on the basis of significant elevations