Pneumoretroperitoneum in two patients with clostridium perfringens necrotizing pancreatitis

Chris M. Anderson, Jeffrey D. Kerby, William B. Perry, Donald L. Sorrells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Pancreatic gas gangrene is an uncommon and often fatal complication of acute pancreatitis, due to the sporulating anaerobe Clostridium perfringens. C. perfringens is a normal constituent of colonic flora, but infects the pancreas by either transmural spread from the colon or via the biliary tree. Only three reported cases in the world literature describe acute pancreatitis with pneumoretroperitoneum and clostridial infection. Two separate cases, at the same institution, of acute pancreatitis complicated by C. perfringens were analyzed. The records of patients were reviewed for admission history, laboratory and radiology results, intensive care support, surgical intervention, and outcome. Retroperitoneal air was visualized early in the clinical course of both patients by computed tomography. Early surgical debridement, drainage, parental antibiotics, and re-exploration resulted in an uncomplicated recovery. Early computed tomography in patients with suspected necrotizing pancreatitis contributes to early intervention and may advantageously enhance survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)268-271
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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