Document Type





Objectives: To review the results of surgical palliation for unresectable pancreatic carcinoma, and to analyze the morbidity and mortality associated with the surgical procedure. The reasons for readmission after discharge from the hospital were also analyzed.Methods: A retrospective study from 1995 to 2001 was done on 30 patients with pancreatic cancer operated with palliative intent, or those explored with curative intent but histopathology revealed positive resection margins or lymph node metastasis.Results: Twenty-five (83.25%) patients were above 50 years of age. There were 16 (53.28%) male, and 14 (46.62%) females, 8 (26.64%) had diabetes mellitus, 2 (6.66%) chronic pancreatitis and 4 (13.32%) had smoking as risk factors. Twenty-three (76.59%) patients presented with jaundice, 18 (59.94%) with weight loss, 17 (56.61%) with epigastric pain, 15 (49.95%) with anorexia and 14 (46.62%) with vomiting. Whipple's procedure was performed in 9 (29.97%) patients, triple bypass in 13 (43.29%), choledochojejunostomy and gastrojejunostomy in 3 (9.99%) and gastrojejunostomy alone in 5 (16.65%) patients. Seven (23.31%) patients had preoperative ultrasonography, while CT Scan was done in 24 (79.92%) and ERCP in 8 (26.64%) patients. Histopathology showed positive resection margins in 9 (29.97%) patients and lymph node metastasis in 5 (16.65%) patients. Seventeen (56.61%) patients received less than 2 units of pack cells transfusion. Most of the patients remained admitted in the hospital between 20 to 30 days. Post-operatively, delayed gastric emptying was detected in 6 (19.98%) patients, cholangitis in 2 (6.66%), wound infection in 3 (9.99%), anastomotic leak in 2 (6.66%) and line sepsis in 2 (6.66%) patients. Three (9.99%) patients expired in hospital post operatively. The reasons for re-admission after discharge included abdominal pain in 9 (29.97%) patients, anemia in 3 (9.99%), intestinal obstruction in 3 (9.99%) and urinary tract infection in 2 (6.66%) patients. Follow up record was available for 22 (73.26%) patients. Six (19.98%) patients survived for 5 to 6 months and 9 (29.97%) had a survival between 7 to 10 months.CONCLUSION: A single surgical procedure can palliate all three symptoms associated with unresectable pancreatic carcinoma, and can be carried out with reasonable safety in selected patients. The commonest indication for re-admission is severe abdominal pain associated with advanced malignancy, hence chemical splanchiectomy may also be considered at the time of surgical exploration.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of Pakistan Medical Association

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Surgery Commons