The timing of surgical intervention in chronic pancreatitis

Issa Y, Kempeneers MA, Bruno MJ, et al. Effect of Early Surgery vs Endoscopy-First Approach on Pain in Patients With Chronic Pancreatitis: The ESCAPE Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2020 Jan 21;323(3):237-247.

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Results: Among 88 patients who were randomized (mean age, 52 years; 21 (24%) women), 85 (97%) completed the trial. During 18 months of follow-up, patients in the early surgery group had a lower Izbicki pain score than patients in the group randomized to receive the endoscopy-first approach group (37 vs 49; between-group difference, -12 points [95% CI, -22 to -2]; P = .02). Complete or partial pain relief at end of follow-up was achieved in 23 of 40 patients (58%) in the early surgery vs 16 of 41 (39%)in the endoscopy-first approach group (P = .10). The total number of interventions was lower in the early surgery group (median, 1 vs 3; P < .001). Treatment complications (27% vs 25%), mortality (0% vs 0%), hospital admissions, pancreatic function, and quality of life were not significantly different between early surgery and the endoscopy-first approach.

Conclusions and relevance: Among patients with chronic pancreatitis, early surgery compared with an endoscopy-first approach resulted in lower pain scores when integrated over 18 months. However, further research is needed to assess persistence of differences over time and to replicate the study findings.

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