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Acute Pancreatitis

An irritation of the pancreas that can cause it to stop working. It is most often caused by gallstones or alcohol abuse. NIH - National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

About Acute Pancreatitis

Acute pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas that occurs suddenly and usually resolves in a few days with treatment. Acute pancreatitis can be a life-threatening illness with severe complications. Each year, about 210,000 people in the United States are admitted to the hospital with acute pancreatitis.

The most common cause of acute pancreatitis is the presence of gallstones—small, pebble-like substances made of hardened bile—that cause inflammation in the pancreas as they pass through the common bile duct. Chronic, heavy alcohol use is also a common cause. Acute pancreatitis can occur within hours or as long as 2 days after consuming alcohol. Other causes of acute pancreatitis include abdominal trauma, medications, infections, tumors, and genetic abnormalities of the pancreas. NIH - National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Endoscopic treatment of acute biliary pancreatitis: a systematic review

Bibliographic details: Chai C, Cao N, Li Q, Yang KH.  Endoscopic treatment of acute biliary pancreatitis: a systematic review. World Chinese Journal of Digestology 2010; 18(4): 404-408

Adjuvant treatment of severe acute pancreatitis with rhubarb: a systematic review

Bibliographic details: Sheng YY, Zou XP, Yu CG, Lv Y, Zhang LL.  Adjuvant treatment of severe acute pancreatitis with rhubarb: a systematic review. World Chinese Journal of Digestology 2010; 18(7): 730-735

Nasogastric enteral nutrition for severe acute pancreatitis: meta-analysis of clinical trials

Bibliographic details: Yan ZF, Qi YM, Lu W, Xie Y.  Nasogastric enteral nutrition for severe acute pancreatitis: meta-analysis of clinical trials. Chinese Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2009; 17(5): 271-274

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Summaries for consumers

Nutritional support, through the intestine (enteral) versus by injection (parenteral) for people with acute pancreatitis

The pancreas is a gland that lies behind the stomach. It produces enzymes that help digestion. Acute pancreatitis is an inflammation in the pancreas which causes severe pains in the stomach. Extra nutrition is needed to recover. However the pancreas needs rest in order to repair. Nutrition must therefore be given either by a tube into the intestines (enteral) or by injection (parenteral). This review found that patients with acute pancreatitis receiving enteral nutrition have fewer episodes of death, systemic infections, multiple organ failure and operative interventions. This data suggests that EN should be considered the standard of care for patients with acute pancreatitis requiring nutritional support.

Use of antibiotics to prevent infection of dead pancreatic tissue in acute pancreatitis

Acute pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas, a serious emergency with no specific treatment. The pancreas, a digestive gland, can become inflamed for many reasons, but mainly as a complication from gallstones or excess alcohol intake. If severe, the pancreas may lose its blood supply, a complication called pancreatic necrosis that can be detected by computed tomography (CT) scanning.  Death can occur either early in the disease process in association with uncontrolled inflammatory responses, causing multiple organ‐system failure (MOSF), or late when the necrotic tissue becomes infected, which might necessitate major surgery to remove the infection, with the risk of death rising from 10% to over 40%. Antibiotics may prevent later infection and reduce the risk of death, but could also encourage bacterial antibiotic resistance and fungal infections. Controlled trials looking at the value of using prophylactic antibiotics have produced conflicting results.

Opioids for abdominal pain in acute pancreatitis

The pancreas is a gland behind the stomach and close to the first part of the small intestine. It produces digestive juices, amylase, secreted into the small intestine and releases hormones, insulin and glucagon, into the bloodstream. Acute pancreatitis refers to a sudden inflammation of the pancreas. It happens when digestive juices become active inside the pancreas, causing swelling, bleeding and damage to the pancreas and its blood vessels. It is a serious condition and can lead to further problems. Common symptoms are severe pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, and vomiting. Treatment is usually a few days in hospital for fluids, antibiotics, and medicines to relieve pain, delivered by drip.

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More about Acute Pancreatitis

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Also called: AP

See Also: Chronic Pancreatitis

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