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Total pancreatectomy for chronic pancreatitis.
  1. I P Linehan,
  2. M A Lambert,
  3. D C Brown,
  4. A B Kurtz,
  5. P B Cotton,
  6. R C Russell
  1. Department of Surgery, Middlesex Hospital, London.


    The operation of total pancreatectomy is performed rarely. Its role in the management of patients with chronic pancreatitis remains to be elucidated. We have reviewed our series of 29 total pancreatectomies for benign disease [14 women median age 39 years; 15 men median age 34 years]. Twelve underwent standard total pancreatectomy, in 17 duodenum preserving total pancreatectomy (DPTP) was performed. There was one death (mortality 3.4%). In no patient was the total pancreatectomy the first operative procedure. The patients were compared with age and sex matched diabetic control subjects selected on a best fit basis from the diabetic clinic database. The aetiology of the pancreatitis was idiopathic nine, pancreas divisum nine, alcohol eight and other causes three. The indication for surgery was pain 27, acute pancreatitis one and cholangitis with pancreatitis one. The complications of the procedures were mainly caused by infection [wound three, chest six and central line sepsis four] and in two there was a leak from the duodenum; no patient required re-operation. The postoperative stay [standard total, median 21 days (range 13-98) DPTP median 31 days (range 17-49)] has lengthened over the period due to greater attention to analgesic, diabetic and enzyme deficiency control before discharge. In standard total pancreatectomy there were five major hypoglycaemic episodes with only two in 17 DPTP patients. The per cent ideal body weight, the insulin requirement and the HbAl compared less well in standard total pancreatectomy group compared with controls than did DPTP. With both groups large doses of enzyme replacement were required, and this proved of importance in diabetic control. Our experience with total pancreatectomy suggests that pain will be improved in over 80% of patients and that the results of surgery will improve with prolonged follow up provided attention is given to analgesic abuse, enzyme deficiency and diabetes.

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