Sixty-three patients with pancreatic abscess were encountered at the University of Michigan Medical Center from 1936 to 1972. The mortality of the overall series was 53.9%. No patients survived without surgical intervention. The mortality following operative incision and drainage was 37%. Limited success following surgical therapy was attributed, in part, to a delay in the diagnosis of pancreatic abscess. Attention to clinical signs and symptoms and a high index of suspicion should allow for earlier operative drainage and improve patient survival.