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Long‐term quality of life after surgery for chronic pancreatitis. BJS 2010; 97: 1079-1086.

Published: 14th May 2010

Authors: E. S. van Loo, M. C. P. M. van Baal, H. G. Gooszen, R. J. Ploeg, V. B. Nieuwenhuijs

Background

Surgery for chronic pancreatitis is indicated for intractable pain or the treatment of complications. This retrospective cohort study evaluated the applicability of pain coping and quality‐of‐life (QOL) scoring in patients with chronic pancreatitis.

Method

Between 1995 and 2008, 155 patients underwent surgery for chronic pancreatitis in two Dutch university hospitals. Medical charts were reviewed, and QOL and coping with pain were assessed by two validated questionnaires.

Results

Median follow‐up was 5·6 years. The aetiology was alcohol related in 48·3 per cent. Some 111 resections and 46 drainage procedures were performed. Fifty‐seven patients had major complications and the hospital mortality rate was 1·3 per cent. After surgery the number of patients needing analgesics was reduced (P < 0·001). Alcohol consumption significantly reduced pain coping mechanisms (P = 0·032). Overall, QOL remained poor after surgery. Scores on three dimensions of the QOL questionnaire were significantly better after drainage than after resection procedures.

Conclusion

In general, QOL after surgery for chronic pancreatitis remains poor, owing to pre‐existing lifestyle and co‐morbidity. Patients selected for a pancreatic duct drainage procedure have a better postoperative QOL than those undergoing resectional procedures. Alcohol consumption is associated with poor ability to cope with pain after surgery and should be discouraged. Copyright © 2010 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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