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World J Gastroenterol. 2006 Nov 28;12(44):7087-96.

Pathophysiology of pulmonary complications of acute pancreatitis.

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Saint Peter's University Hospital, New Brunswick, NJ 08903, USA.


Acute pancreatitis in its severe form is complicated by multiple organ system dysfunction, most importantly by pulmonary complications which include hypoxia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, atelectasis, and pleural effusion. The pathogenesis of some of the above complications is attributed to the production of noxious cytokines. Clinically significant is the early onset of pleural effusion, which heralds a poor outcome of acute pancreatitis. The role of circulating trypsin, phospholipase A2, platelet activating factor, release of free fatty acids, chemoattractants such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, interleukin (IL)-1, IL-6, IL-8, fMet-leu-phe (a bacterial wall product), nitric oxide, substance P, and macrophage inhibitor factor is currently studied. The hope is that future management of acute pancreatitis with a better understanding of the pathogenesis of lung injury will be directed against the production of noxious cytokines.

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