OBJECTIVES: High serum creatinine is a well-known unfavorable prognostic parameter in acute pancreatitis. Elevated creatinine at 48 h after admission was recently described as a marker for pancreatic necrosis. As pancreatic necrosis is a serious complication of acute pancreatitis and its identification by a simple single laboratory test would be very helpful, the aim of this study was to test that statement.METHODS: In a prospective multicenter study of 462 patients with a first attack of acute pancreatitis, serum creatinine was determined on admission, and at 24 and 48 h thereafter, and compared with the findings of contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CT) performed within 96 h of admission.RESULTS: Pancreatic necrosis was present in 62 (13%) of the patients. Serum creatinine levels (abnormal 2 mg/dl) on admission and after 24 and 48 h were evaluated vs. the presence or absence of pancreatic necrosis. Sensitivity rates varied between 14 and 23%, specificity between 95 and 97%, positive predictive values between 41 and 50%, and negative predictive values between 87 and 89%. Receiver operating characteristic curves revealed an area under the curve of between 0.604 and 0.669.CONCLUSIONS: An elevated serum creatinine concentration at any time during the first 48 h of admission is not a marker for pancreatic necrosis in a first attack of acute pancreatitis. If serum creatinine is normal, necrotizing pancreatitis is unlikely, and contrast-enhanced CT need not be performed unless complications occur and/or the patient's condition deteriorates.
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