Acute Pancreatitis

It is the inflammatory condition of the pancreas owing to the following etiologies viz gallstones, alcohol, snake bite and drug toxicity. 70 to 80 percent patients often represent with mild pancreatitis whilst 15 to 30 percent present with sever pancreatitis. The causes, signs and symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and complications have been illustrated in the following paragraphs.


Among the causes of acute pancreatitis gallstones is the most common accompanied by alcohol consumption, drug toxicity, infection and accidental injury. Gallstones are the stones form in one’s gallbladder that can pass through bile duct and block the pancreatic opening resulting into pancreatic inflammation. Whereas mechanism of alcohol damage to pancreas is not well known but there is a direct connection between binge alcohol consumption and acute pancreatitis. Drugs such as azathioprine, thiazides, sulfonamides and tetracyclines cause pancreatic inflammation. Certain viral infections like measles and mumps also cause pancreatic anomaly.

Signs and Symptoms

Nagging epigastric pain, nausea, vomiting and fever are some common symptoms of the disorder. In severe cases hypotension, tachycardia and multi organ failure occur. Abdominal tenderness, abdominal distension, Cullen sign (periumbilical bluishness) and grey turner sign (reddish brown coloration around flanks) may also develop in severe cases.

Severity risk is estimated through the Ranson criteria that enumerates Age >75, obesity, alcoholism, C-reactive protein > 150, rising blood urea nitrogen and creatinine, chest x-ray with pulmonary infiltrates or pleural effusion and CT scan and MRCP with pancreatic necrosis and extra pancreatic inflammation.


The diagnosis of acute pancreatitis is made on the ground of serum amylase and serum lipase level. Serum lipase is rudimentarily more specific for acute pancreatitis than serum amylase. The level > 1000 indicates the diagnosis of acute pancreatitis. On the other hand, ultrasound, CT- scan, MRCP and ERCP are also used for the diagnosis of the disease.


The disease is managed through antibiotic and pain killer administration. In severe cases ICU admission is recommended.


The complications of the disease enumerate pseudocyst formation, multiorgan failure, pleural effusion and paralytic ileus predominantly.

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