Necrotizing pancreatitis is perhaps the most severe complication of acute pancreatitis because of the high associated mortality rate. Bacterial contamination of pancreatic necrosis carries a 40-70% mortality rate, even after surgical debridement. Thus, early detection of necrosis is crucial in patient management.
CECT will show lack of enhancement of the necrotic regions. This finding is usually accompanied by other imaging indicators of pancreatitis such as infiltration of the peripancreatic fat planes. T2W MRI will show increased signal intensity of the necrotic regions while T1W post contrast images will show nonenhancing areas with decreased signal intensity.
The above CECT images are from a young male admitted with acute pancreatitis whose clinical status was worsening. Lack of enhancement of the distal pancreatic body and tail are seen (red arrow) consistent with necrosis. Note, the normal enhancement of the pancreatic head (blue arrow).
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