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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.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases)

About Acute Pancreatitis

Acute pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas that typically causes very sudden and very severe stomach ache. The most common causes are gallstones and excessive alcohol consumption.

Acute pancreatitis can have serious complications, so it is typically treated in the hospital. Most of the time it passes without any serious problems developing in about one to two weeks. But in more severe cases of pancreatitis, treating the complications may take up to several months. Complications of pancreatitis can be fatal.

Symptoms

Acute pancreatitis almost always causes severe upper abdominal pain. The pain can spread to your back and is usually accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Fever, circulation problems and a bloated stomach are other common symptoms... Read more about Acute Pancreatitis

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

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.

Endoscopy for the treatment of acute gallstone pancreatitis

Acute pancreatitis refers to sudden inflammation of the pancreas associated with severe abdominal pain. The most common cause is transient blockage of the pancreatic or bile duct (or both) by gallstones. Most attacks of acute pancreatitis are mild, and most patients recover uneventfully with medical management. However, a small proportion of patients have a more severe course requiring intensive medical management.

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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.

Acute pancreatitis: Overview

Acute pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas that typically causes very sudden stomach ache.The pain is usually so severe that most people go straight to a doctor. The most common causes are gallstones blocking the opening of the pancreas and excessive alcohol consumption.

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.

See all (16)

More about Acute Pancreatitis

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Also called: AP

See Also: Chronic Pancreatitis

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