Medindia

X

» » About

Pancreatitis

Rating : 12345
Rate This Article : 1 2 3 4 5
G J 4
A -A +

About Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis or inflammation of the pancreas may show up as acute pancreatitis or chronic pain. Alcohol consumption is the main offender. Treatment requires hospitalization and at times surgery.

Advertisement

Pancreatitis (pan-kree-a-TY-tis) is a painful inflammation of the pancreas (PAN-kree-us)  that may be acute or chronic. The acute form occurs suddenly, causes severe pain in the abdomen and often, resolves completely.

In acute pancreatitis the pancreas - "succumbs to its own digestive properties" (Chiari – 1896). Alexander the Great succumbed to this condition in 323 BC at a very young age of 33 years.

Chronic Pancreatitis lasts for as long as six weeks or more and keeps recurring on and off. It is very common amongst the Americans and more so in African Americans.

The incidence of acute pancreatitis is 19.5 per 100,000 population and chronic pancreatitis is 8.3 per 100,000 population per year.

Pancreatitis

The patient classically suffers severe pain in the abdomen that radiates to the back. He also has fever, vomiting and feels sick. Clinical history, blood tests and a CT scan of the abdomen make the diagnosis of pancreatitis. Blood tests include those for serum amylase, trypsin, electrolytes, calcium and glucose. A CT scan may show swelling of the pancreas and the areas of damage as well as areas of blockage and cysts or pseudo cysts. An ultrasound of the abdomen is useful in picking up gallstones.

Lord Moynihan (1925) one of the renowned  surgeons described acute pancreatitis as - 'Acute pancreatitis is the most terrible of all the calamities that occur in connection with the abdominal viscera. The suddenness of its onset, the illimitable agony which accompanies it, and the mortality attendant upon it, all render it the most formidable of catastropies'.

Saturday night feverThe most common cause of acute pancreatitis seems to be alcohol abuse in the developed countries.

The famous musician Beethoven also suffered from alcoholic pancreatitis as was evidenced by the autopsy of his pancreas after his death.

Gallstones which block the flow of pancreatic juice into the duodenum also can give rise to pancreatitis.

Chronic pancreatitis occurs in children following trauma or due to defects in the pancreas like pancreas divisum or cystic fibrosis.

Certain drugs that lower cholesterol are also thought to give rise to pancreatitis. Infections due to coxsackie, mycoplasma and some viral infections can cause pancreatitis. A rare cause is one that follows an ERCP or endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatogram.

An infection of the pancreatic ducts causes it to release its enzymes before it reaches the intestine and the enzymes then begin to digest and harm the pancreas itself. The severity of damage is translated into the intensity of the clinical features, which may range from pain to bleeding within the abdomen and infection. Repeated vomiting can lead to dehydration. Very severe cases lead to lung pneumonia, ARDS, Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome, and even renal failure.

Treatment is directed towards relieving pain, treating dehydration, vomiting and attention to nutrition. The jury is still out as to whether parenteral nutrition is useful or not in cases of pancreatitis. Those cases, which are caused by gallstones, have to be treated by surgery to remove the gallstones, which is done at the earliest, depending on the condition of the patient. The patient may also have to go under the knife if there is a cyst or pseudo-cyst that is infected or is blocking the pancreatic ducts. Severe bleeding and abdominal infection may also be occasions to operate upon the patient and stem the problem during an attack of pancreatitis.

What is the prognosis in a case of severe acute pancreatitis?

The outlook in a case of pancreatitis depends on various associated feature like age of the patient, the white blood cell count, the level of various enzymes at the time of attack and after 48 hours. Ranson has devised a score based on the above factors to predict the severity and likelihood of serious complications including death from Pancreatitis.
Advertisement
More

Post your Comments

Comments should be on the topic and should not be abusive. The editorial team reserves the right to review and moderate the comments posted on the site.
User Avatar
* Your comment can be maximum of 2500 characters
Notify me when reply is posted I agree to the terms and conditions
ERCP is basically an Endoscopy performed on you when it is suspected by a doctor that you have Pancreatitis. Basically they can either just numb your throat, or knock you out, and put a tube down your throat with a little camera to examine your pancreas and the structures around it. I had one done not too long ago. Hope this helps.
davidmaithya Saturday, July 24, 2010
You can always get surgery done to remove the affected part.
davidmaithya Saturday, July 24, 2010
What is ERCP related to PANCREATITIS?
tridibde Thursday, April 22, 2010
ERCP is basically an Endoscopy performed on you when it is suspected by a doctor that you have Pancreatitis. Basically they can either just numb your throat, or knock you out, and put a tube down your throat with a little camera to examine your pancreas and the structures around it. I had one done not too long ago. Hope this helps.
davidmaithya Saturday, July 24, 2010
Does this have any relation to diabetes and pressure??????????
Please tell me if any one has an answer.

salisha Wednesday, March 3, 2010
I read pancreatitis is likely caused because of A high OXIDATIVE STRESS level & a low supply of antioxidants like beta- carotene,vitamin E,vitamin C,organic selenium & amino acid Methionine.

aprilrain1228 Thursday, February 18, 2010
My mother passed away June 28th after 20 odd number of years from problems with her pancreas. I truly feel she would still be with me today if she would have seen a specialist sooner. My advice to whom ever is reading this with pancreatitis or know of someone who has pancreatitis get to a speacialist as soon as possible.

gummygirl916 Sunday, November 22, 2009
I have chronic pancreatitis. I am dealing daily with severe abdominal pain. I have been to see your so called "specialists" Their advice/help to me was "I'm sorry but there is nothing we can do for you. But, good luck in managing your chronic pain at home." I have gone home and done a lot of internet research and reading. I have learned to help myself and not depend on any one else. Some sypmtoms can be decreased with diet changes. What can not be is helped with pain meds. The rest-well is just dealt with. I am looking at losing my job due to illness [too many sick days taken]. A specialist is not able to do anything to prolong life or decrease pain and complications from the disease. Or to help protect my job/lively hood. As I have sadly found out first hand. However, you can believe what you want. I know better. I am dealing not only with the disease but the so called "specialists" and life changes.
guest Saturday, December 5, 2009
unfortunately its true that not much can be done about pain when its not responding to conventional meds and about the course of the disease. what is important, as it is with many chronic illnesses is the perspective. life need not be all about the disease. one can most of the time 'manage' the symptoms. the doctor is more a 'partner' than a 'healer'.
mandadi Saturday, September 29, 2012
I have just had the 2nd stay in hospital with this in the last 3 month what I need to know how I got this when I DO NOT DRINK OR HAVE GALL STONE
maza58 Saturday, April 11, 2009
My mother has been readmitted for the 3rd time in less than one month and she too does not drink nor does she have her gallbladder. We don't understand what is going on or how to control this. Her pain is unreal.
guest Monday, August 24, 2009
I read pancreatitis is likely caused because of A high OXIDATIVE STRESS level and a low supply of antioxidant. Also if you have IBS ,CROHNS, OR CANDIDA you are not able to absorb nutrients that your body needs there for you start to lack digestive enzymes because a healthy gut flora helps digestive food and keep you inmmune system strong.

aprilrain1228 Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ask an Expert

C
If you have a question about health related issues, you can now post it in our Ask An Expert section on our community website Medwonders.com and get answers from our panel of experts.

Join Our Online Health Community:

Recommended Groups Members Related Discussions
By registering with Medindia you become part of our global health community. Make new friends and share and discuss your health issues, with 202721 other members across 445 support groups.

You May Also Like

Advertisement
View All

Show More Related Topics y

Advertisement