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The incidence of Purtscher retinopathy in acute pancreatitis
  1. K Bhan1,
  2. A Ashiq1,
  3. A Aralikatti1,
  4. K V Menon2,
  5. M McKibbin1
  1. 1
    Department of Ophthalmology, St. James’s University Hospital, Beckett Street, Leeds, UK
  2. 2
    Department of Gastroenterology, St. James’s University Hospital, Beckett Street, Leeds, UK
  1. M McKibbin, Eye Clinic, St James’s University Hospital, Leeds LS9 7TF, UK; martin.mckibbin{at}

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Acute pancreatitis is one of the most common causes of Purtscher retinopathy, accounting for a third of cases in a recent UK and Ireland survey.1 As the incidence of acute pancreatitis appears to be rising, it would seem reasonable to expect an increase in the incidence of Purtscher retinopathy.2 However, the incidence of this complication in acute pancreatitis is not yet known. In this prospective study involving patients admitted to hospital for management of their pancreatitis, the incidence of Purtscher retinopathy, the impact on visual function and the association with current, pancreatitis severity scores were determined.

Patients and methods

Patients admitted to this hospital with a diagnosis of acute pancreatitis were invited to participate, and written, informed consent was obtained from all participants in accordance with Local Research Ethics Committee approval. A full history was taken, and ophthalmic examination, with dilated fundus examination, was performed on all participants. Purtscher retinopathy was considered to be definitely present when the characteristic Purtscher flecken were present in the posterior pole of one or both eyes or probably present when cotton wool spots or intra-retinal haemorrhage alone were present in the posterior pole and for which no other systemic cause was apparent. The severity of pancreatitis was determined according to either the modified …

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  • Competing interests: None declared.