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September 1961

Acute Pancreatitis in the Postoperative Patient

Author Affiliations

From the Department of General Surgery, Henry Ford Hospital.

Arch Surg. 1961;83(3):475-490. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1961.01300150149020

Acute pancreatitis is not seen frequently in the postoperative patient, but when it occurs the patient has approximately a 50% chance of survival. This highly dramatic complication is being recognized more often today. In our experience, hemorrhage, infection, anesthesia, and faulty surgical technique have progressively decreased as causes of postoperative complications, but the occurrence of hemorrhagic pancreatitis as a fatal complication of upper abdominal surgery has been increasing. This complication may occur, surprisingly enough, in a patient having surgery in an area remote from the gastrointestinal tract.

In this paper we wish to discuss the entity of acute pancreatitis occurring in the patient following surgery, based on a study of 26 cases collected from a surgical experience covering 23 years. We have not concerned ourselves here with asymptomatic postoperative hyperamylasemia, which has been described often in the literature (Bergkuist,3 Millbourn,18 Perryman,21 Mahaffey17).). Symptoms compatible with

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