Trauma of the pancreas. A hidden disaster

Iulian Slavu 1 , Adrian Tulin 1 , Vlad Braga 2 , Octavian Enciu 3 , Dan Păduraru 4 , Bogdan Socea 5 , and Lucian Alecu 1
  • 1 “Prof. Dr. Agrippa Ionescu” Clinical Emergency Hospital, , Bucharest, Romania
  • 2 Clinical Emergency Hospital, , Bucharest, Romania
  • 3 “Elias” Clinical Emergency Hospital, , Bucharest, Romania
  • 4 Bucharest University Emergency Hospital, , Bucharest, Romania
  • 5 “Sf. Pantelimon” Emergency Hospital, , Bucharest, Romania

Abstract

Due to its anatomical position, traumatic lesions of the pancreas are rare and difficult to diagnose. Diagnosis time is paramount as an increase in duration translates into an increase in morbidity and mortality. Duct lesions are hard to identify on CT, ERCP being the investigation of choice but it is difficult to obtain as it requires highly specialized staff and equipment. Intraoperative macroscopic and palpatory evaluation of the pancreas in a trauma patient should be elective no matter what other lesions are present. The treatment is mainly dictated by this evaluation and is defined as it follows: stage I and II usually require a conservative approach; stage III, IV, and V usually imply resection of the pancreas although recent advances in conservative management have been made through ERCP and pancreatic duct stenting. In these stages, intraoperative evaluation should ensure the ampulla is intact if the head of the pancreas is not resected. Serum amylase and lipase levels do not offer a concrete direction towards a pancreatic lesion. Currently, there is no standard surgical treatment for these stages thus making intraoperative evaluation mandatory. One must remember that post-traumatic pancreatitis exists, which becomes apparent days after the accident.

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