• Operative drainage is the cornerstone of therapy for pancreatic abscess. Recently it has been suggested that successful percutaneous catheter drainage of infected pancreatic and peripancreatic fluid collections may serve as definitive therapy. We undertook therapeutic, computed tomography–directed percutaneous drainage in a selected group of 29 patients with infected pancreatic and peripancreatic fluid collections. Twenty-three patients (79%) were successfully treated with percutaneous drainage. Of six patients (21%) representing failures of percutaneous drainage, four died and two recovered after operative drainage. The four patients who died had a mean APACHE (acute physiology and chronic health evaluation) II score of 23 and five of Ranson's prognostic signs. Ranson's signs and APACHE II scores were predictive of success and mortality. We conclude that in selected patients, infected pancreatic and peripancreatic fluid collections can be treated definitively with therapeutic percutaneous catheter drainage. Based on this experience, recommendations regarding patient selection are included.
(Arch Surg. 1990;125:1554-1557)