It is unknown whether measurement of markers of oxidative stress can improve the prediction of severity of acute pancreatitis. Consecutive patients admitted with a diagnosis of acute pancreatitis were divided into mild (n = 62) and severe (n = 23) groups based on the Atlanta classification. Plasma oxidative stress markers were measured within 24 h of admission and included ascorbic acid (endogenous antioxidant), protein carbonyl (a marker of protein oxidation), thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (a marker of lipid peroxidation) and myeloperoxidase (a neutrophil enzyme that produces oxidants). Canonical correlation analysis was used to describe the relationship between these markers and the modified Glasgow criteria. Canonical variate analysis was used to define the best variables that could discriminate mild and severe pancreatitis. There was a significant correlation between markers of oxidative stress and the modified Glasgow criteria (first canonical correlation 0·69, P < 0·0001, Wilk's lambda test). Blood urea, serum albumin and white cell count were the best variables that discriminated mild and severe acute pancreatitis, and all were better than the oxidative stress markers. The markers of oxidative stress were highly correlated with the severity of pancreatitis. They are unlikely to be better than the modified Glasgow criteria in predicting it. Presented to a meeting of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Annual Scientific Congress in Auckland 1999, and published in abstract form as Aust N Z Surg J 1999; 69(Suppl): A54.
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