Correction of malnutrition and maldigestion with enzyme supplementation in patients with surgical suppression of exocrine pancreatic function

M. Braga, M. Cristallo, R. De Franchis, A. Mangiagalli, D. Agape, M. Primignani, V. Di Carlo

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We studied the occurrence and extent of malnutrition and maldigestion in 13 patients who underwent pancreatoduodenectomy (PD) and injection of Neoprene® (polychloroprene) (NI) into the duct of Wirsung, which results in sclerosis of the acinar pancreatic tissue, but spares the endocrine function. At discharge, patients undertook an enzyme supplementation regimen with pancreatin (18,000 United States Pharmacopoeia units of lipase per meal). Patients were rehospitalized 24.9 months after PD plus NI to undergo nutritional and metabolic evaluation (hospital control). Nutritional status was evaluated by measuring the serum albumin level, total iron binding capacity and total lymphocyte count. Digestive function was assessed by the D-xylose tolerance test and determination of fetal fat excretion. Patients were then discharged with pancrelipase, enteric-coated microspheres (ECM) supplementation (16,050 United States Pharmacopoeia units of lipase per meal). Malnutrition, defined as the occurrence of at least two abnormal nutritional parameters, was observed in six patients at hospital control. After six months on pancrelipase ECM, the nutritional status was re-evaluated in nine patients (three previously malnourished) who were all well nourished. The mean body weight was 84.7 per cent of usual body weight at discharge after PD plus NI and raised to 88.0 per cent at the hospital control (p <0.01) and to 93.7 per cent (p <0.05) after six months on pancrelipase ECM. At hospital control, results from the D-xylose test were normal in all patients, and steatorrhea dropped from 33.6 grams per day without enzyme supplementation to 15.3 grams per day with pancrelipase ECM (16,050 United States Pharmacopoeia units of lipase per meal). Steatorrhea was incompletely but satisfactorily corrected by pancrelipase ECM. On supplementation therapy with pancrelipase ECM, patients recover a good deal of the body weight and normalize the biochemical indices of malnutrition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-492
Number of pages8
JournalSurgery Gynecology and Obstetrics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1988


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Surgery

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