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Clinical Implications of Incomplete Pancreas Divisum

Context Incomplete pancreas divisum is a pancreatic anomaly that results in an inadequate communication between the ventral and dorsal pancreatic ducts. Although the relationship between complete pancreas divisum and pancreatitis has been contentious, clinical implications of incomplete pancreas divisum have not been noted. Objective This study was done to investigate the clinical significance of incomplete pancreas divisum. Patients and methods We studied the anatomy of the pancreatic duct system in 3,220 cases using endoscopic retrograde pancreatography; 44 cases had complete pancreas divisum, and 41 had incomplete pancreas divisum. Main outcome measure The prevalence of chronic and acute pancreatitis associated with complete or incomplete pancreas divisum was compared with that of cases with neither complete nor incomplete PD (controls). Results All of the patients with complete or incomplete pancreas divisum who abused alcohol had chronic or acute pancreatitis. The prevalence of chronic pancreatitis in patients with complete or incomplete pancreas divisum was significantly higher than in controls (P<0.001 and P=0.001, respectively), but acute pancreatitis occurred more frequently only in patients with complete pancreas divisum (P=0.010). When we considered pancreatic-type pain as a pancreatitis-like disease, complete and incomplete pancreas divisum were suspected as the cause of pancreatitis-like disease in 39% (15/38: chronic dorsal pancreatitis, n=5; acute pancreatitis, n=7; pancreatic-type pain, n=3) and 30% (10/33: chronic dorsal pancreatitis, n=2; acute relapsing pancreatitis, n=1; pancreatic-type pain, n=7) of patients who did not abuse alcohol, respectively. Conclusions Although the precise pathophysiology may differ, patients with complete pancreas divisum and patients with incomplete pancreas divisum may have similar presentations and a similar prevalence. The clinical implications of incomplete pancreas divisum may be similar to those of complete pancreas divisum.


Terumi Kamisawa, Yuyang Tu, Naoto Egawa, Kouji Tsuruta, Aatsutake Okamoto

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