Background/objectives: Acute pancreatitis (AP) progresses to necrotizing pancreatitis in 15% of cases. An important pathophysiological mechanism in AP is third spacing of fluids, which leads to intravascular volume depletion. This results in a reduced splanchnic circulation and reduced venous return. Non-visualisation of the portal and splenic vein on early computed tomography (CT) scan, which might be the result of smaller vein diameter due to decreased venous flow, is associated with infected necrosis and mortality in AP. This observation led us to hypothesize that smaller diameters of portal system veins (portal, splenic and superior mesenteric) are associated with increased severity of AP. Methods: We conducted a post-hoc analysis of data from two randomized controlled trials that included patients with predicted severe and mild AP. The primary endpoint was AP-related mortality. The secondary endpoints were (infected) necrotizing pancreatitis and (persistent) organ failure. We performed additional CT measurements of portal system vein diameters and calculated their prognostic value through univariate and multivariate Poisson regression. Results: Multivariate regression showed a significant inverse association between splenic vein diameter and mortality (RR 0.75 (0.59–0.97)). Furthermore, there was a significant inverse association between splenic and superior mesenteric vein diameter and (infected) necrosis. Diameters of all veins were inversely associated with organ failure and persistent organ failure. Conclusions: We observed an inverse relationship between portal system vein diameter and morbidity and an inverse relationship between splenic vein diameter and mortality in AP. Further research is needed to test whether these results can be implemented in predictive scoring systems.

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Keywords Acute pancreatitis, Perfusion, Prediction, Prognosis, Severity, Splanchnic circulation, Vein diameter
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Journal Pancreatology
Smeets, X.J.N.M. (X. J.N.M.), Litjens, G. (G.), Da Costa, D.W, Kievit, W, van Santvoort, H.C, Besselink, M.G, … Geenen, E-J.M. (2018). The association between portal system vein diameters and outcomes in acute pancreatitis. Pancreatology. doi:10.1016/j.pan.2018.05.007