Background and study aims: Incomplete pancreas divisum (PD) has been generally regarded as merely a normal anatomic variant, without clinical implications. This study compares the prevalence, symptom occurrence rate, clinical presentation, and outcomes of endoscopic treatment in patients with incomplete PD and those with complete PD. Patients and methods: The study population consisted of 56 patients (27 with complete PD and 29 with incomplete PD), identified from 4473 newly performed endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography examinations. Endoscopic treatment (minor papilla sphincterotomy with stents or nasopancreatic drainage tube insertion) was attempted in 25 symptomatic patients with PD, which was suspected to be causing the associated pancreatic diseases: acute recurrent pancreatitis (ARP) (n = 13; five patients with complete PD and eight with incomplete PD); chronic pancreatitis (CP) (n = 10: five patients with complete PD and five with incomplete PD); and pancreatic-type pain (PP) (n = 2; one patient with complete PD and one with incomplete PD). The mean follow-up period was 17 months (range 9-49 months). Results: In 12 of the 27 patients with complete PD - six with ARP, five with CP, and one with PP - it was suspected that PD was the cause of pancreatic disease. Ten of the 11 symptomatic patients with complete PD underwent successful endoscopic treatment (five with endoscopic minor papilla sphincterotomy and stenting, and five with endoscopic minor papilla sphincterotomy and endoscopic nasopancreatic drainage), and seven of these ten patients benefited from the endoscopic treatment. In 14 of the 29 patients with incomplete PD - eight with ARP, five with CP, and one with PP - it was suspected that pancreas divisum was the cause of pancreatic disease. Thirteen of the 14 symptomatic patients with incomplete PD underwent successful endoscopic treatments (six with endoscopic minor papilla sphincterotomy and stenting, and seven with endoscopic minor papilla sphincterotomy and endoscopic nasopancreatic drainage), and eight of these 13 patients experienced clinical improvement. Conclusions: The prevalence rate, symptom occurrence rate, clinical presentation, and outcomes of endoscopic treatment were similar in patients with complete PD and incomplete PD. Incomplete PD may therefore have similar clinical implications to those of complete PD.
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