To determine which abdominal CT findings predict severe fibrosis and post-operative pain relief in chronic pancreatitis (CP).
Pre-operative abdominal CTs of 66 patients (mean age 52 ± 12 years, 53 % males) with painful CP who underwent the Whipple procedure (n = 32), Frey procedure (n = 32) or pancreatic head biopsy (n = 2), between 1/2003-3/2014, were evaluated. CT was evaluated for parenchymal calcifications, intraductal calculi, main pancreatic duct dilation (>5 mm), main pancreatic duct stricture, and abnormal side branch(es). The surgical histopathology was graded for fibrosis. CT findings were evaluated as predictors of severe fibrosis and post-operative pain relief using regression and area under receiver operating curve (AUC) analysis.
Thirty-eight (58 %) patients had severe fibrosis. Parenchymal calcification(s) were an independent predictor of severe fibrosis (p = 0.03), and post-operative pain relief over a mean follow-up of 1-year (p = 0.04). Presence of >10 parenchymal calcifications had higher predictive accuracy for severe fibrosis than 1-10 parenchymal calcification(s) (AUC 0.88 vs. 0.59, p = 0.003). The predictive accuracy of >10 versus 1-10 parenchymal calcifications increased after adjusting for all other CT findings (AUC 0.89 vs. 0.63, p = 0.01).
Parenchymal calcification(s) independently predict severe fibrosis and are significantly associated with post-operative pain relief in CP. The presence of >10 parenchymal calcifications is a better predictor of severe fibrosis than 1-10 parenchymal calcification(s).
• Parenchymal calcifications in chronic pancreatitis independently predict post-operative pain relief
• Intraductal calculi and MPD dilation are not associated with post-operative pain relief
• Better patient selection for pancreatic resection surgery in painful chronic pancreatitis