Selective Digestive Decontamination in Severe Acute Pancreatitis –

Leong Tiong, Ryan Jalleh, Savio Barreto

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Infected pancreatic necrosis is associated with the risk of considerable morbidity and mortality. Preventing the development of infection in pancreatic necrosis may help reduce the poor outcomes in patients with severe acute pancreatitis (SAP). Aim: The aim of the current review was to determine the benefit of selective digestive decontamination (SDD) in improving outcomes in SAP. Materials and Methods: A systematic literature search was conducted using MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Cochrane Methodology Register, Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects and Health Technology Assessment, until June 2011 without any restrictions. Papers reporting on experimental animal studies and clinical studies on patients with acute pancreatitis (AP) who were treated with SDD, either alone or in combination with intravenous antibiotic and antifungals in comparison with other interventions, antibiotics, or placebo, were eligible for inclusion. Outcome data collected were duration and regimen of SDD used, short- and long-term morbidity and mortality rates, length of hospital stay, incidence and rates of bacterial/fungal infection. Results: A total of 53 articles were identified from the literature search of which 10 (7 animals, 3 humans) were eligible for inclusion in this systematic review. There was only one randomized controlled trial among the human studies. Most studies used a combination of SDD and intravenous antibiotics precluding a clear interpretation of the individual benefit of SDD. Although SDD significantly reduced pancreatic infection rates, its benefit on patient survival is unclear. Conclusion: AlthoughSDD significantly reduced pancreatic infection rates and overall survival in experimental animal models, in human studies this benefit is not clearly appreciated owing to the confounding effects of concurrently administered intravenous antibiotics. Hence, further controlled studies are needed to determine the benefit of SDD in AP in humans.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-99
Number of pages7
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Antibiotic prophylaxis
  • infection
  • pancreas


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