Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
Respiratory complications are common in patients with pancreatic inflammatory diseases. They can vary from asymptomatic pleural effusions to life threatening conditions such as Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). This is a retrospective study of all patients admitted under Medicine and Surgery in a teaching institution, with pancreatic inflammatory diseases over a 2 year period - January 1993 to December 1994. Ninety four patients with pancreatic inflammatory diseases were studied. There were 54 cases of acute pancreatitis of which 12 were Acute Hemorrhagic Necrotising Pancreatitis, and 40 of chronic pancreatitis. There were 31 respiratory complications : 13 pleural effusions, 17 pneumonia/pneumonitis and 1 case of ARDS. Four of the patients with pleural effusion were dyspnoeic, requiring complete aspiration of the fluid. One patient with Acute Haemorrhagic Necrotising Pancreatitis (AHNP) had an empyema, requiring an intercostal drain for 3 days. Ninety one patients recovered after appropriate therapy. All 3 deaths were in patients with AHNP : 1 was due to ARDS and 2 were due to intraabdominal sepsis with pneumonia. Respiratory complications were most frequently seen in patients with acute hemorrhagic necrotising pancreatitis and they contribute to the prolonged hospital stay and increased morbidity and mortality.