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December 1978

Visceral Vessel Erosion Associated With PancreatitisCase Reports and a Review of the Literature

Author Affiliations

From the Surgical Service, Loch Raven Veterans Administration Hospital, Baltimore (Drs Gadacz and Kieffer); the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore (Drs Gadacz and Kieffer); and the San Francisco General Hospital (Dr Trunkey).

Arch Surg. 1978;113(12):1438-1440. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1978.01370240060009

• Visceral artery erosion is an uncommon but disasterous complication of pancreatitis. When gastrointestinal bleeding or severe intra-abdominal hemorrhage is associated with pancreatitis and the usual sources of bleeding are not detected by endoscopy or barium studies, erosion of a visceral vessel should be suspected. We present nine cases and an additional 44 cases from previous reports are reviewed. A palpable abdominal mass was present in 59% of the patients; however, a pseudocyst was present in 78%. Arteriography was performed in 15 patients and the source of bleeding was evident in 14. The splenic artery was the most common site of bleeding, although the other branches of the celiac axis and the middle colic artery have been involved. Successful treatment consisted of ligation of the bleeding vessel and, if present, drainage of the pseudocyst. Depending on the location of the vessel and the pseudocyst, major resections may be necessary. When bleeding and the pancreatic inflammatory process involved the colon, ligation of the bleeding site, drainage of the area, and colostomy was the most successful form of treatment.

(Arch Surg 113:1438-1440, 1978)

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