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Digestive system
Digestive system


Endocrine glands
Endocrine glands


Pancreas
Pancreas


Definition:

A pancreatic abscess is a cavity of pus within the pancreas.



Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

Pancreatic abscesses develop in patients with pancreatic pseudocysts that become infected.



Signs and tests:

Patients with pancreatic abscesses usually have had pancreatitis . They usually develop fevers and abdominal pain, and have evidence of an abscess on an ultrasound , CT scan , or MRI of the abdomen.



Treatment:

It may be possible to drain the abscess through the skin (percutaneous). Surgery to drain the abscess and remove dead tissue may be required.



Support Groups:



Expectations (prognosis):

How the person does depends on how severe the infection is. The death rate from undrained pancreatic abscesses is very high.



Complications:

Calling your health care provider:

Call your health care provider if you have persistent abdominal pain with fever or other signs of a pancreatic abscess, particularly if you have recently had a pancreatic pseudocyst or pancreatitis.



Prevention:

Adequate drainage of a pancreatic pseudocyst may help prevent some cases of pancreatic abscess. However, in many cases the disorder is not preventable.



References: Owyang C. Pancreatitis. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 147.


Review Date: 12/19/2008
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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