Pancreas divisum. Detection and management

J. A. Madura, A. C. Fiore, K. W. O'Connor, G. A. Lehman, R. L. McCammon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Pancreas divisum is a variant of pancreatic ductal drainage. Its existence is being observed more frequently with the widespread use of endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). On occasion, a relative stenosis of the accessory sphincter will cause a symptom complex which includes nausea, vomiting, upper abdominal pain, and intermittent pancreatitis. In 20 patients seen over the past 4 years, symptoms have been severe enough to consider the patient for transduodenal sphincteroplasty. The use of morphine prostigmine stimulation as a screening tool, has been helpful in 79 per cent of the patients in the series. Intravenous secretin has been a valuable adjunct to both ERCP identification and cannulation of the duct, as well as in two patients whom the diagnosis was only suspected, and confirmed at the operating table. Operative common duct manometry has shown 40 per cent of the patients to have abnormal flow dynamics, suggesting possible disturbance in the biliary sphincter, as well as the accessory pancreatic sphincter. Pathologic examination has demonstrated abnormal gallbladders in nine of nine patients without previous cholecystectomy. The suggested procedure of dual sphinteroplasty has resulted in no mortalities, but a 50 per cent complication rate. Follow-up shows 70 per cent of the patients to be recurrent pancreatitis, and four patients have other problems causing continued post-operative pain. This study suggests dual sphincteroplasty is an acceptable form of therapy for patients with pancreatic divisum and no other source for their pain. Further follow-up will be necessary to insure that therapy is truly curative.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)353-357
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number6
StatePublished - Oct 23 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Pancreas divisum. Detection and management'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this