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    Pancreatic abscess

    A pancreatic abscess is a cavity of pus within the pancreas.

    Causes

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

    Symptoms

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

    Exams and Tests

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

    Signs of an abscess can be seen on:

    • CT scan of the abdomen
    • MRI of the abdomen
    • Ultrasound of the abdomen

    Treatment

    It may be possible to drain the abscess through the skin (percutaneous). Surgery to drain the abscess and remove dead tissue is often needed.

    Outlook (Prognosis)

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

    Possible Complications

    • Multiple abscesses
    • Sepsis

    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

    Draininga 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. 24thed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 146.

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    • Digestive system

      illustration

    • Endocrine glands

      illustration

    • Pancreas

      illustration

      • Digestive system

        illustration

      • Endocrine glands

        illustration

      • Pancreas

        illustration

      A Closer Look

        Self Care

          Tests for Pancreatic abscess

            Review Date: 2/18/2012

            Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.

            The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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            St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
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