Risk factors and preventive strategies for post-operative pancreatic fistula after pancreatic surgery: a comprehensive review
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Background: Pancreas surgery has developed into a fairly safe procedure in terms of mortality, but is still hampered by considerable morbidity. Among the most frequent and dreaded complications are the development of a post-operative pancreatic fistula (POPF). The prediction and prevention of POPF remains an area of debate with several questions yet to be firmly addressed with solid answers. Methods: A systematic review of systematic reviews/meta-analyses and randomized trials in the English literature (PubMed/MEDLINE, Cochrane library, EMBASE) covering January 2005 to December 2015 on risk factors and preventive strategies for POPF. Results: A total of 49 systematic reviews and meta-analyses over the past decade discussed patient, surgeon, pancreatic disease and intraoperative related factors of POPF. Non-modifiable factors (age, BMI, comorbidity) and pathology (histotype, gland texture, duct size) that indicates surgery are associated with POPF risk. Consideration of anastomotic technique and use of somatostatin-analogs may slightly modify the risk of fistula. Sealant products appear to have no effect. Perioperative bleeding and transfusion enhance risk, but is modifiable by focus on technique and training. Drains may not prevent fistulae, but may help in early detection. Early drain-amylase may aid in detection. Predictive scores lack uniform validation, but may have a role in patient information if reliable pre-operative risk factors can be obtained. Conclusions: Development of POPF occurs through several demonstrated risk factors. Anastomotic technique and use of somatostatin-analogs may slightly decrease risk. Drains may aid in early detection of leaks, but do not prevent POPF.