Pancreatic Fluid Collection

What is pancreatic fluid collection?

Fluid can collect in or around the pancreas due to different types and stages of pancreatitis. Acute pancreatitis can lead to what is called acute peripancreatic fluid collection, or collection of fluid around the pancreas. Over many months, pancreatitis can also cause fluid to collect in what is known as a pancreatic pseudocyst. As the name implies, a pancreatic pseudocyst is a saclike structure filled with fluid. If part of the diseased pancreas dies, a condition called necrotizing pancreatitis, acute necrotic fluid can collect (in the short term) around the pancreas, or (over longer periods) in a pseudocyst filled with pancreatic enzymes, blood, and necrotic pancreatic tissue.

What are common symptoms of pancreatic fluid collection?

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • A tender mass in the abdomen
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
  • Fluid buildup in the abdominal cavity

How is pancreatic fluid collection diagnosed?

Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) can aid the diagnosis of fluid collection in the bile duct or the pancreatic duct. Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) can be employed. It uses continuous endoscopic ultrasound monitoring to move an endoscope into position, and then to guide a needle, which is extended out of the endoscope, into areas where fluid has collected to take a biopsy for diagnosis.

How is pancreatic fluid collection treated?

Sometimes pancreatic fluid collections will dissipate on their own, and the best treatment is simply to monitor the patient. In other cases, EUS-guided drainage tools can be used to locate and drain pseudocysts and other pancreatic fluid collections. The fluid can either be drawn out of the body or be redirected from its source to a nearby part of the digestive system where it can be harmlessly absorbed.