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Lancet. 2003 Apr 26;361(9367):1447-55.


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Division of Gastroenterology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.


In the past decade, our understanding of the genetic basis, pathogenesis, and natural history of pancreatitis has grown strikingly. In severe acute pancreatitis, intensive medical support and non-surgical intervention for complications keeps patients alive; surgical drainage (necrosectomy) is reserved for patients with infected necrosis for whom supportive measures have failed. Enteral feeding has largely replaced the parenteral route; controversy remains with respect to use of prophylactic antibiotics. Although gene therapy for chronic pancreatitis is years away, our understanding of the roles of gene mutations in hereditary and sporadic pancreatitis offers tantalising clues about the disorder's pathogenesis. The division between acute and chronic pancreatitis has always been blurred: now, genetics of the disorder suggest a continuous range of disease rather than two separate entities. With recognition of pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia, we see that chronic pancreatitis is a premalignant disorder in some patients. Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography and endoscopic ultrasound are destined to replace endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography for many diagnostic indications in pancreatic disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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