CONTEXT: The natural history of pancreatic pseudocysts has become well known in recent years, but the choice of a proper treatment still remains controversial. OBJECTIVE: This study aims at establishing whether predictive factors influencing therapeutic outcomes exist. SETTING: Patients with pancreatic pseudocysts following an episode of acute pancreatitis treated from January 1980 to December 2001 at the Department of General Surgery and Organ Transplantation of the University of Parma, Italy. PATIENTS: Seventy-four patients were studied: 12 had a spontaneous resolution, 37 patients were treated surgically, 15 were treated endoscopically and in 10, percutaneous drainage was used. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Epidemiological, clinical and pathological characteristics of patients with pancreatic pseudocysts were related to morbidity, recurrence rates and hospital stay. RESULTS: At univariate logistic regression, our data reveal a significant increase in morbidity related to age (P=0.013), etiology (alcoholic vs. biliary, P=0.024), Ranson score of previous pancreatitis (P=0.006), nutritional assessment (P=0.001), residual necrosis (P<0.001) and modality of treatment (P=0.009), whereas none of these parameters has been shown to be significantly correlated to recurrence. At multivariate logistic regression, only residual necrosis was significantly related to morbidity. CONCLUSIONS: Some factors, such as epidemiological (age, etiology), clinical (severity of previous pancreatitis, malnourishment), pathological (residual necrosis), and therapeutical factors (emergency/urgency treatment) are predictive of worse outcomes for invasive treatment of pseudocysts. In particular residual necrosis appeared to be the most important factor influencing invasive treatment outcomes, confirming that this pathological aspect deserves particular attention from surgeons. No risk factors predicting pancreatic pseudocyst recurrence emerged.
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