The incidence and significance of pancreas-related complications (pseudocysts, abscesses, and fistulas) were evaluated in 100 patients with acute pancreatitis. Alcoholic (40 percent), biliary (20 percent), and postoperative (15 percent) pancreatitis were seen most frequently. Eighteen patients had severe pancreatitis (3 or more Ranson's criteria). The overall mortality rate was 8 percent, and there were 16 pancreas-related complications. Pancreas-related complications developed in eight patients (53 percent), including two pseudocysts, four abscesses, and two fistulas. The incidence of pancreas-related complications was significantly greater in the postoperative group than in the overall 9 percent incidence in the other groups (p < 0.005). Half of these patients required operation for their complications. Patients with postoperative pancreatitis are at a markedly increased risk of pancreas-related complications. Since these complications occur even in apparently mild cases of pancreatitis, these patients should be followed closely to detect pancreas-related complications.
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