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Int J Obstet Anesth. 2012 Oct;21(4):360-3. doi: 10.1016/j.ijoa.2012.07.004. Epub 2012 Sep 6.

Acute pancreatitis in pregnancy: review of three cases and anaesthetic management.

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Department of Anaesthesia, Leicester General Hospital, Leicester, UK.


Acute pancreatitis is rare in pregnancy, with an estimated incidence of 1 in 1000-3000 pregnancies. Gallstones are the commonest cause. Mortality and morbidity associated with pancreatitis have declined as diagnosis and management options improve. Presentation usually occurs in the third trimester or early postpartum period with severe epigastric pain, nausea, vomiting, anorexia and fever. Blood investigations show an elevated white cell count and increased liver enzyme concentrations. Ultrasound is safe but has lower sensitivity than computerised tomography for detecting gallstones. Management during pregnancy has traditionally been conservative, followed by cholecystectomy after delivery. Recurrence of pancreatitis during pregnancy may necessitate more urgent surgery. The second trimester is considered the safest for surgery, with early involvement of intensive care as the condition can deteriorate rapidly. We present three cases managed in our unit over a six-month period that illustrate the spectrum of disease and the successful use of a multidisciplinary team approach.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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