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Pancreatic abscess


Definition:

A pancreatic abscess is an area filled with pus within the pancreas.

Causes:

Pancreatic abscesses develop in people who have pancreatic pseudocysts that become infected.

Symptoms:
Exams and Tests:

Most people with pancreatic abscesses have had pancreatitis. However, the complication often takes 7 or more days to develop.

Signs of an abscess can be seen on:

Treatment:

It may be possible to drain the abscess through the skin (percutaneous). Abscess drainage can be done through an endoscope using endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) in some cases. Surgery to drain the abscess and remove dead tissue is often needed.

Outlook (Prognosis):

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

Possible Complications:
When to Contact a Medical Professional:

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

Prevention:

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

References:

Forsmark CE. Pancreatitis. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 146.


Review Date: 2/10/2014
Reviewed By: Todd Eisner, MD, Private practice specializing in Gastroenterology, Boca Raton, FL. Affiliate Assistant Professor, Florida Atlantic University School of Medicine. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician 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. Copyright 2002 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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