• Pancreatic abscess is probably the most serious complication of acute pancreatitis. During the ten-year period from 1966 to 1975, twenty-eight patients with pancreatic abscess following acute pancreatitis were treated by surgical drainage. A review of these cases revealed that there was a lull in the clinical course of the antecedent pancreatitis prior to the time of surgical drainage in 70% of the cases. Despite an aggressive surgical approach, there were major postoperative problems in 26 patients. Sepsis persisted in 14 patients. Major gastrointestinal hemorrhage occurred in seven, intra-abdominal bleeding in nine, and fistulization in 13. Fourteen patients died (a mortality of 50%). The operative treatment of pancreatic abscess must be aggressive and persistent. In addition to extensive drainage with soft sump drains, vigilance must be exercised to avoid pressure against bowel or major vessels. Reoperation should be considered if postoperative improvement is not sustained.
(Arch Surg 111:858-861, 1976)