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The importance of timing of decompression in severe acute pancreatitis combined with abdominal compartment syndrome

Ke, Lu MD; Ni, Hai-bin MD; Tong, Zhi-Hui MD; Li, Wei-Qin MD; Li, Ning MD; Li, Jie-Shou MD

Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery: April 2013 - Volume 74 - Issue 4 - p 1060–1066
doi: 10.1097/TA.0b013e318283d927
Original Articles

BACKGROUND Surgical decompression is widely considered as an important treatment in patients with severe acute pancreatitis (SAP) and abdominal compartment syndrome (ACS). Until now, the indication and optimal time of decompression remain unknown, and no experimental data exist, although extremely high mortality has been repeatedly reported in these patients. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of three different time points for decompression in a 24-hour lasting porcine model.

METHODS Following baseline registrations, 32 animals were divided into four groups (8 animals each group) as follows: one SAP-alone group and three SAP + ACS groups, which received decompression at 6, 9, and 12 hours. We used a N2 pneumoperitoneum to increase the intra-abdominal pressure to 25 mm Hg and retrograde intra-ductal infusion of sodium taurocholate to induce SAP. Global hemodynamic profiles, urine output, systemic oxygenation, and serum biochemical parameters of the animals were studied. At the end of the experiment, histologic examination of the intestine and lung was performed.

RESULTS The survival time of the 12-hour group was significantly shortened (p = 0.037 vs. 9 hours and p = 0.008 vs. 6 hours). In SAP + ACS animals, decompression at 6 hours restored systemic hemodynamics, oxygen-derived parameters, organ function, and inflammatory intensity to a level comparable with that of the SAP-alone group. In contrast, animals in the 9 hours and 12 hours developed more severe hemodynamic and organ dysfunction. The histopathologic analyses also revealed higher grade injury of the intestine and lung in animals receiving delayed decompression.

CONCLUSION Well-timed decompression in a porcine model of SAP incorporating 25-mm Hg intra-abdominal hypertension/ACS was associated with significantly reduced mortality, improved systemic hemodynamics and organ function, as well as alleviated histologic injury and inflammatory intensity. According to our results and previous reports, both too early and too late decompression should be avoided owing to significant morbidity for the former and unfavorable outcomes for the latter.

From the Department of General Surgery, Jinling Hospital, Nanjing University School of Medicine, Nanjing, China.

Submitted: October 17, 2012, Revised: November 6, 2012, Accepted: November 6, 2012.

Address for reprints: Li Weiqin, Department of SICU, Research Institute of General Surgery Jinling Hospital, 305 East Zhongshan Rd, Nanjing 210002, Jiangsu Province, China; email:

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.