METHODS: From 1983 to 1995, 72 patients with necrotizing pancreatitis were treated with a general approach involving planned reoperative necrosectomies and interval abdominal wound closure using a zipper. RESULTS: Hospital mortality was 25%. Multiple organ failure without sepsis caused early mortality in 3 of 4 patients and sepsis caused late mortality in 11 of the remaining 14. The mean number of reoperative necrosectomies/debridements was 2 (0 to 7). Fistulae developed in 25 patients (35%); 64% were treated conservatively. Recurrent intraabdominal abscesses developed in 9 patients (13%) but were drained percutaneously in 5. Hemorrhage required intervention in 13 patients (18%). Prognostic factors included APACHE-II score on admission <13 (P = 0.005), absence of postoperative hemorrhage (P = 0.01), and peripancreatic tissue necrosis alone (P <0.05). CONCLUSIONS: The zipper approach effectively maximizes the necrosectomy and decreases the incidence of recurrent intraabdominal infection requiring reoperation. APACHE-II score ≤13, extensive parenchymal necrosis, and postoperative hemorrhage signify worse outcome.
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