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Am Surg. 2001 Feb;67(2):182-7.

Hereditary chronic pancreatitis: implications for surgical treatment and follow-up.

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Division of Gastrointestinal Surgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA.


Hereditary pancreatitis is an uncommon cause of chronic pancreatitis in Western society. It should be suspected when chronic pancreatitis presents in young adults. The diagnosis is made when chronic pancreatitis is present in several members of the same family who are determined not to have other risk factors for chronic pancreatitis. Molecular research focusing on mutations in the trypsinogen gene has uncovered the genetic defects associated with hereditary pancreatitis, and this knowledge has suggested the possible pathophysiologic mechanism of this disease. Because patients with hereditary pancreatitis develop their disease early in life they are very likely to require treatment for complications. As in patients with chronic pancreatitis of other etiologies those with hereditary pancreatitis should be treated medically for acute exacerbations. When complications occur or when the disease causes intractable pain surgery is recommended. Surgical therapy is tailored to the patient's pancreatic anatomy based on endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography or CT scan. The two patients described in this report underwent successful longitudinal pancreaticojejunostomy (Puestow procedure) with good results. Finally it has been shown that patients with hereditary pancreatitis are at increased risk for developing pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Although not widely used pancreatic cancer screening programs have been suggested for surveillance of these patients.

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