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Serial computed tomography scanning in acute pancreatitis: a prospective study.
  1. N J London,
  2. J P Neoptolemos,
  3. J Lavelle,
  4. I Bailey,
  5. D James
  1. Department of Surgery, Leicester Royal Infirmary.


    One hundred and two patients with acute pancreatitis had abdominal computed tomography (CT) scans within 72 hours of admission, at one week and at six weeks. Twenty eight attacks were clinically severe, 74 clinically mild. Ninety three (91%) admission scans, 85 (84%) one week scans, and 52 (51%) six week scans were abnormal. The aetiology of the pancreatitis could be inferred from 28 (27%) of admission scans, the CT sign of fatty liver having a sensitivity of 21% and specificity of 100% for alcoholic aetiology. The sensitivity of CT for gall stone aetiology was 34%, specificity 100%. The pancreatic size indices (max anteroposterior measurement of head x max anteroposterior measurement of body) of those patients with severe attacks were significantly greater than those with mild attacks on admission, at one week and at six weeks (p less than 0.004). Fourteen pseudocysts were detected by CT, five (36%) of which were clinically apparent. The pseudocyst size indices (max anteroposterior x max transverse measurement) of the pseudocysts which were clinically apparent were significantly greater than those which were not apparent (p less than 0.01) and only those pseudocysts with a size index greater than or equal to 15 cm2 required treatment.

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