From the Journals

AGA releases clinical practice update for pancreatic necrosis



The American Gastroenterological Association recently issued a clinical practice update for the management of pancreatic necrosis, including 15 recommendations based on a comprehensive literature review and the experiences of leading experts.

Recommendations range from the general, such as the need for a multidisciplinary approach, to the specific, such as the superiority of metal over plastic stents for endoscopic transmural drainage.

The expert review, which was conducted by lead author Todd H. Baron, MD, of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and three other colleagues, was vetted by the AGA Institute Clinical Practice Updates Committee (CPUC) and the AGA Governing Board. In addition, the update underwent external peer review prior to publication in Gastroenterology.

In the update, the authors outlined the clinical landscape for pancreatic necrosis, including challenges posed by complex cases and a mortality rate as high as 30%.

“Successful management of these patients requires expert multidisciplinary care by gastroenterologists, surgeons, interventional radiologists, and specialists in critical care medicine, infectious disease, and nutrition,” the investigators wrote.

They went on to explain how management has evolved over the past 10 years.

“Whereby major surgical intervention and debridement was once the mainstay of therapy for patients with symptomatic necrotic collections, a minimally invasive approach focusing on percutaneous drainage and/or endoscopic drainage or debridement is now favored,” they wrote. They added that debridement is still generally agreed to be the best choice for cases of infected necrosis or patients with sterile necrosis “marked by abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and nutritional failure or with associated complications including gastrointestinal luminal obstruction, biliary obstruction, recurrent acute pancreatitis, fistulas, or persistent systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS).”

Other elements of care, however, remain debated, the investigators noted, which has led to variations in multiple aspects of care, such as interventional timing, intravenous fluids, antibiotics, and nutrition. Within this framework, the present practice update is aimed at offering “concise best practice advice for the optimal management of patients with this highly morbid condition.”

Among these pieces of advice, the authors emphasized that routine prophylactic antibiotics and/or antifungals to prevent infected necrosis are unsupported by multiple clinical trials. When infection is suspected, the update recommends broad spectrum intravenous antibiotics, noting that, in most cases, it is unnecessary to perform CT-guided fine-needle aspiration for cultures and gram stain.

Regarding nutrition, the update recommends against “pancreatic rest”; instead, it calls for early oral intake and, if this is not possible, then initiation of total enteral nutrition. Although the authors deemed multiple routes of enteral feeding acceptable, they favored nasogastric or nasoduodenal tubes, when appropriate, because of ease of placement and maintenance. For prolonged total enteral nutrition or patients unable to tolerate nasoenteric feeding, the authors recommended endoscopic feeding tube placement with a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy tube for those who can tolerate gastric feeding or a percutaneous endoscopic jejunostomy tube for those who cannot or have a high risk of aspiration.

As described above, the update recommends debridement for cases of infected pancreatic necrosis. Ideally, this should be performed at least 4 weeks after onset, and avoided altogether within the first 2 weeks, because of associated risks of morbidity and mortality; instead, during this acute phase, percutaneous drainage may be considered.

For walled-off pancreatic necrosis, the authors recommended transmural drainage via endoscopic therapy because this mitigates risk of pancreatocutaneous fistula. Percutaneous drainage may be considered in addition to, or in absence of, endoscopic drainage, depending on clinical status.

The remainder of the update covers decisions related to stents, other minimally invasive techniques, open operative debridement, and disconnected left pancreatic remnants, along with discussions of key supporting clinical trials.

The investigators disclosed relationships with Cook Endoscopy, Boston Scientific, Olympus, and others.

SOURCE: Baron TH et al. Gastroenterology. 2019 Aug 31. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2019.07.064.

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