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Br J Nurs. 2006 Oct 12-25;15(18):999-1005.

Pathophysiology, diagnosis and management of acute pancreatitis.

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Hepatology, Institute of Liver Studies, King's College Hospital, Denmark Hill, London.


Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas that can be either acute or chronic in origin and is caused by a varied range of aetiologies. However, in both types of the disease alcohol use may be a major contributor. In acute pancreatitis the symptoms can range from mild, which resolve within a few days, to severe, which is associated with both multi-organ failure and a high mortality necessitating admission to a high dependency or intensive care unit. As the incidence of acute pancreatitis is increasing it is imperative that nurses are familiar with the causes, underlying pathophysiology, diagnostic tests and the potentially vast range of complications that can occur in acute pancreatitis. This article reviews the current medical and nursing management of this condition.

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