BACKGROUND: Patients with severe acute pancreatitis die of complications closely related to the systemic activation of protease cascades. AIM: To examine the effects of human C1 esterase inhibitor (C1 INH) and antithrombin III (AT III) on two experimental models of acute pancreatitis. METHODS: Oedematous pancreatitis was induced by continuous intravenous infusion of caerulein and haemorrhagic pancreatitis by retrograde injection of sodium taurocholate into the biliopancreatic duct. C1 INH and AT III were given intravenously, either before or after the induction of pancreatitis. Treatment with C1 INH and AT III had no beneficial effect on oedematous pancreatitis. On the other hand, combined C1 INH and AT III therapy improved the survival in haemorrhagic pancreatitis compared with treatment with human serum albumin. This reduction in mortality was found regardless of whether the treatment was given prophylactically or therapeutically. CONCLUSIONS: Treatment with C1 INH and AT III represents a promising therapeutic concept for patients with severe haemorrhagic pancreatitis.
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