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Burden of Ionizing Radiation in the Diagnosis and Management of Necrotizing Pancreatitis.

  • Author(s): Thiruvengadam, Nikhil R
  • Miranda, Janille
  • Kim, Christopher
  • Behr, Spencer
  • Corvera, Carlos
  • Dai, Sun-Chuan
  • Kirkwood, Kimberly
  • Harris, Hobart W
  • Hirose, Kenzo
  • Nakakura, Eric
  • Ostroff, James W
  • Kochman, Michael L
  • Arain, Mustafa A
  • et al.


A step-up endoscopic or percutaneous approach improves outcomes in necrotizing pancreatitis (NP). However, these require multiple radiographic studies and fluoroscopic procedures, which use low-dose ionizing radiation. The cumulative radiation exposure for treatment of NP has not been well defined.


We conducted a retrospective study of consecutive patients with NP admitted to University of California San Francisco Medical Center from January 2011 to June 2019. We calculated effective doses for fluoroscopic procedures using the dose area product and used the National Cancer Institute tool for computed tomography studies. The primary outcome was the cumulative effective dose (CED). Multivariable logistic regression was used to evaluate risk factors of high exposure (CED > 500 mSv).


One hundred seventy-one patients with NP (mean follow-up 40 ± 18 months) underwent a median of 7 (interquartile range [IQR] 5-11) computed tomography scans and 7 (IQR 5-12) fluoroscopic procedures. The median CED was 274 mSv (IQR 177-245) and 30% (51) of patients received high exposure. Risk factors of high exposure include multiorgan failure (aOR 3.47, 95%-CI: 1.53-9.88, P = 0.003), infected necrosis (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 3.89 95%-CI:1.53-9.88, P = 0.005), and step-up endoscopic approach (aOR 1.86, 95%-CI: 1.41-1.84, P = 0.001) when compared with step-up percutaneous approach.


Patients with NP were exposed to a substantial amount of ionizing radiation (257 mSv) as a part of their treatment, and 30% received more than 500 mSv, which corresponds with a 5% increase in lifetime cancer risk. Severity of NP and a step-up endoscopic approach were associated with CED > 500 mSv. Further studies are needed to help develop low-radiation treatment protocols for NP, particularly in patients receiving endoscopic therapy.

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