Emphysematous pancreatitis

Emphysematous pancreatitis is an unusual complication of acute pancreatitis caused by necrotising infection of the pancreas. It is associated with gas-forming bacteria and characterized by the presence of gas within or around the pancreas. 

Infection with gas-forming bacteria such as Escherichia coli, Clostridium perfrigens, Staphylococcus sp, Streptococcus sp, Klebsiella sp and Pseudomonas sp. Gas associated with infection is generally thought to consist of carbon dioxide and nitrogen secondary to the fermentation of glucose by some species of bacteria.

The emphysematous pancreatitis fits into the characterization of necrotising pancreatitis in Balthazar score and thus corroborates to highest score in the CT severity index (CTSI).

Computed tomography is the imaging modality of choice because of its sensitivity and specificity in detecting gas bubbles.

This condition carries a high mortality rate. Percutaneous drainage of the fluid collection and, if there is no clinical response to support measures, surgical resection of the infected necrotic tissue.

  • atmospheric air introduced by recent instrumentation or surgery (e.g. post ERCP)
  • enteric fistula formation and reflux from the adjacent hollow viscus

Pancreatic pathology
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Article Information

rID: 26455
Section: Pathology
Tag: refs
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:

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