Six prognostic indices, which were developed to assess inpatients with acute pancreatitis, were evaluated for possible retrospective application. When applied to a series of 14 cases in whom pancreatitis was first diagnosed at necropsy, the index devised by Jacobs et al was found to be the most useful, because in nine of these cases eight or more of the variables required were available for assessment from the case records. In the other indices evaluated fewer than eight of the required variables were available for retrospective assessment in most cases. Although undiagnosed pancreatitis is probably uncommon as a sole cause of death, the retrospective use of one or more of these indices may help assess the severity of the patient's condition on admission to hospital.
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