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Medicine (Baltimore). 2019 Apr;98(15):e15138. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000015138.

Acute pancreatitis with abdominal bloating and distension, normal lipase and amylase: A case report.

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Departments of Gastrointestinal and Pancreatic Surgery, Zhejiang Provincial People's Hospital, People's Hospital of Hangzhou Medical College, Hangzhou, PR China and Key Laboratory of Gastroenterology of Zhejiang Province, Hangzhou, PR China.



Acute pancreatitis is an inflammatory disorder of the pancreas, and its correct diagnosis is an area of interest for clinicians. In accordance with the revised Atlanta classification, acute pancreatitis can be diagnosed if at least 2 of the following 3 criteria are fulfilled: abdominal pain; serum lipase (or amylase) activity at least 3 times the upper limit of normal; or characteristic findings of acute pancreatitis on contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CT) or, less often, magnetic resonance imaging or transabdominal ultrasonography. Diagnostic imaging is essential in patients with no or slight enzyme elevation. If enzymes are normal in cases with abdominal distension, there is clinical doubt about the diagnosis of acute pancreatitis, so an early CT scan should be obtained and other life-threatening disorders excluded.


A 50-year-old male presented with a 1-day history of abdominal bloating and distension. On physical examination, abdominal bulging and mild epigastric tenderness were detected. Laboratory evaluation showed normal amylase and lipase. There was no abnormality on abdominal ultrasound or CT of the abdomen and pelvis. On the fourth day of admission, CT of the abdomen and pelvis showed a hypodense lesion in the pancreas surrounded by a moderate amount of peripancreatic fluid.


In accordance with the revised Atlanta classification, acute pancreatitis was diagnosed, based on the presence of abdominal pain, and the results of the CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis.


The patient was treated with fasting, gastrointestinal decompression bowel rest, intravenous rehydration, and somatostatin.


After 2 days of treatment, his abdominal distension was significantly relieved, and the patient was discharged on the seventh day of admission. At the 3-month follow-up, the patient had no recurrence of pancreatitis.


This case of abdominal distension could not be explained by common causes, such as ascites, bowel edema, hematoma, bowel distension, or ileus, which led us to suspect pancreatitis.

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