Pancreatic abscess

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Pancreatic abscess

Definition

A pancreatic abscess is cavity of pus within the pancreas.

Causes

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

Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal mass
  • Inability to eat
  • Nausea and vomiting

Exams and Tests

Patients with pancreatic abscesses usually have a history of 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

Percutaneous (through the skin) drainage of the abscess may be possible. Laparotomy with drainage and possible surgical removal of dead tissue may be required.

Outlook (Prognosis)

The outcome is related to the severity of the infection. The death rate from undrained pancreatic abscesses is very high.

Possible Complications

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if persistent abdominal pain with fever or other signs of pancreatic abscess develops, 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.

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