Currently, both the step-up approach, combining percutaneous drainage (PD) and video-assisted retroperitoneal debridement (VARD), and endoscopic transgastric necrosectomy (ETN) are mini-invasive techniques for infected necrosis in severe acute pancreatitis. A combination of these approaches could maximize the management of necrotizing pancreatitis, conjugating the benefits from both the experiences. However, reporting of this combined strategy is anecdotal. This is the first reported case of severe necrotizing pancreatitis complicated by biliary fistula treated by a combination of ETN, PD, VARD, and endoscopic biliary stenting. Moreover, a systematic literature review of comparative studies on minimally invasive techniques in necrotizing pancreatitis has been provided.
A 59-year-old patient was referred to our center for acute necrotizing pancreatitis associated with multi-organ failure. No invasive procedures were attempted in the first month from the onset: enteral feeding by a naso-duodenal tube was started, and antibiotics were administered to control sepsis. After 4 weeks, CT scans showed a central walled-off pancreatic necrosis (WOPN) of pancreatic head communicating bilateral retroperitoneal collections. ETN was performed, and bile leakage was found at the right margin of the WOPN. Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography confirmed the presence of a choledocal fistula within the WOPN, and a biliary stent was placed. An ultrasound-guided PD was performed on the left retroperitoneal collection. Due to the subsequent repeated onset of septic shocks and the evidence of size increase of the right retroperitoneal collection, a VARD was decided. The CT scans documented the resolution of all the collections, and the patient promptly recovered from sepsis. After 6 months, the patient is in good clinical condition.
No mini-invasive technique has demonstrated significantly better outcomes over the others, and each technique has specific indications, advantages, and pitfalls. Indeed, ETN could be suitable for central WOPNs, while VARD or PD could be suggested for lateral collections. A combination of different approaches is feasible and could significantly optimize the clinical management in critically ill patients affected by complicated necrotizing pancreatitis.