Research Article

Early assessment of severity of acute pancreatitis using peritoneal lavage.

Br Med J 1977; 2 doi: (Published 26 November 1977) Cite this as: Br Med J 1977;2:1377
  1. I R Pickford,
  2. R L Blackett,
  3. M J McMahon


    Diagnostic peritoneal lavage using one litre of isotonic saline was performed on 27 patients with acute pancreatitis as soon as possible after diagnosis. There were no complications. Severe attacks (defined retrosepctively according to the progress of the attack) were characterised by the presence of free peritoneal fluid and by dark-coloured and often opalescent return fluid. The concentrations of albumin, aspartate aminotransferase (SGOT) and total protein in the return fluid provided good discrimination between severe and mild attacks, and there were also significant differences in the concentrations of amylase, urea, calcium, potassium, bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase, and the white cell count. Lavage successfully predicted severe disease in five patients whose condtion had been clinically assessed as mild.