Pancreatic abscess: is there a role for conservative therapy?
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Pancreatic abscess is a serious complication of acute pancreatitis and non-operative management has been reported to carry a mortality of nearly 100%. We present five patients with pancreatic abscess, who were successfully treated with antibiotics alone. All 5 patients had acute pancreatitis followed by prolonged fever and development of an abdominal mass. The diagnosis was confirmed in each of them by a contrast enhanced CT scan and an ultrasound guided aspiration of pus from the pancreatic mass. The choice of antibiotics was decided by the culture reports in two cases and by Gram's staining in the remaining three patients. We attribute the success of antibiotic therapy in our patients to early diagnosis by CT scan and guided aspiration as well as the absence of any unfavourable risk factors. This study suggests that a select group of patients with pancreatic abscess may be managed conservatively with antibiotics.