Hemosuccus Pancreaticus

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hemosuccus pancreaticus is a rare cause of gastrointestinal bleeding. It is caused by a bleeding source in the pancreas, pancreatic duct, or structures adjacent to the pancreas, such as the splenic artery, that bleed into the pancreatic duct, which is connected with the bowel at the duodenum, the first part of the small intestine. While associated with chronic pancreatitis due to alcohol or Tropical pancreatitis in 60% of cases, hemosuccus pancreaticus can also be observed in patients with a history of traumatic injury, familial pancreatitis and neoplasia.

Patients suffering from hemosuccus pancreaticus may develop symptoms of gastrointestinal hemorrhage, such as blood in the stools, maroon stools, or melena, which is a dark, tarry stool caused by digestion of red blood cells. They may also develop abdominal pain. Treatment of hemosuccus pancreaticus depends on the source of the hemorrhage. If the bleeding is identified on angiography to be coming from a vessel that is small enough to occlude, embolization through angiography may stop the bleeding. Both coils in the end-artery and stents across the area of bleeding have been used to control the hemorrhage. However, the bleeding may be refractory to the embolization, which would necessitate surgery to remove the pancreas at the source of hemorrhage. Also, the cause of bleeding may be too diffuse to be treated with embolization (such as with pancreatitis or with pancreatic cancer). This may also require surgical therapy, and usually a distal pancreatectomy, or removal of the part of the pancreas from the area of bleeding to the tail, is required.