While emergent pancreatic resection for trauma has been previously described, no large contemporary investigations into the frequency, indications, and outcomes of emergent pancreatectomy (EP) secondary to complications of neoplastic disease exist. Modern perioperative outcomes data are currently unknown.
ACS-NSQIP was reviewed for all non-traumatic pancreatic resections (DP – distal pancreatectomy, PD – pancreaticoduodenectomy, or TP- total pancreatectomy) in patients with pancreatico-biliary or duodenal-ampullary neoplasms from 2005 to 2013. Patients treated for complications of pancreatitis were specifically excluded. Emergent operation was defined as NSQIP criteria for emergent case and one of the following: ASA Class 5, preoperative ventilator dependency, preoperative SIRS, sepsis, or septic shock, or requirement of > 4 units RBCs in 72 h prior to resection. Chi-square tests, Fisher’s exact tests were performed to compare postoperative outcomes between emergent and elective cases as well as between pancreatectomy types.
Of 21,452 patients who underwent pancreatectomy for neoplastic indications, we identified 534 (2.5%) patients who underwent emergent resection. Preoperative systemic sepsis (66.3%) and bleeding (17.9%) were most common indications for emergent operation. PD was performed in 409 (77%) patients, DP in 115 (21%), and TP in 10 (2%) patients. Overall major morbidity was significantly higher (46.1% vs. 25.6%, p < 0.001) for emergent vs. elective operations. Emergent operations resulted in increased transfusion rates (47.6% vs. 23.4%, p < 0.001), return to OR (14.0% vs. 5.6%, p < 0.001), organ-space infection (14.6 vs. 10.5, p = 0.002), unplanned intubation (9.% vs. 4.1%, p < 0.001), pneumonia (9.6% vs. 4.2%, p < 0.001), length of stay (14 days vs. 8 days, p < 0.001), and discharge to skilled facility (31.1% vs. 13.9%). These differences persisted when stratified by pancreatic resection type. The 30-day operative mortality was higher in the emergent group (9.4%vs. 2.7%, p < 0.001) and highest for emergent TP (20%).
Emergent pancreatic resection is markedly uncommon in the setting of neoplastic disease. Although these operations result in increased morbidity and mortality compared to elective resections, they can be life-saving in specific circumstances. The results of this large series of modern era national data may assist surgeons as well as patients and their families in making critical decisions in select cases of acutely complicated neoplastic disease.