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- Obstruction of the pancreatic duct from:
- Diseases of the duodenum, the first section of the small intestine, where the pancreas empties
- Surgery or trauma to the pancreas
- Certain medications, such as those that treat cancer
- Ischemia—insufficient blood supply to the pancreas
- Complications of having endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography
- Alcohol abuse
- Family history of pancreatitis
- Personal history of previous acute pancreatitis
- Congenital conditions, such as pancreas divisum
- HIV or other viral infections, such as mumps or hepatitis B
- Bacterial and parasitic infections
- Hypertriglyceridemia—elevated blood triglyceride levels
- Taking certain medications, such as those that treat high blood pressure
- Pancreatic cancer
- Hyperlipidemia—elevated blood fat levels
- Hypercalcemia—elevated blood calcium levels
- Cystic fibrosis
- Scorpion bite
- Occupational exposure to certain toxins
Severe pain in the center of the upper abdomen that:
- Sometimes spreads into the upper back
- Is often made worse by eating, walking, or lying down on your back
- Nausea and vomiting
- Low grade fever
- Jaundice—yellowing of the skin and eyes
- Rarely, shock—a medical emergency in which the organs and tissues don't receive adequate blood or fluids
- Blood tests—to look for elevated levels the digestive enzymes amylase and lipase
- Urine tests
- Antibiotics—to treat any infections
- Pain medications
- Protease inhibitors—to reduce the effects of digestive enzymes
- Insulin—to help regulate blood glucose levels
- Necrosectomy—Removal of dying or dead (necrotic) pancreatic tissue. Pancreatic necrosis is more serious if an infection is present. This procedure can also be done with endoscopy.
- Percutaneous catheter drainage—One or many thin tubes are inserted into the abdomen to drain fluid from the pancreas.
- ECRP—To remove gallstones or open any collapsed ducts.
- Cholecystectomy—To remove the gallbladder.
- Limit intake of alcohol to a maximum of two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.
- If you have hyperlipidemia, restrict your intake of fat and follow your doctor’s treatment plan to lower your lipids.
- Increase your vegetable consumption.
- Increase your activity level to help lose excess weight. Aim for 30 minutes per day on most days of the week.
- Make sure your vaccinations are up to date. This includes mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, and varicella.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases http://www.niddk.nih.gov
National Pancreas Foundation http://www.pancreasfoundation.org
Canadian Association of Gastroenterology http://www.cag-acg.org
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Acute pancreatitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated October 23, 2013. Accessed December 4, 2013.
Acute pancreatitis. Tulane University School of Medicine website. Available at: http://tulane.edu/som/pancreas-biliary/diseases/acute-pancreatitis.cfm. Accessed December 4, 2013.
Causes of acute pancreatitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated October 31, 2013. Accessed December 4, 2013.
Pancreatitis. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/pancreatitis. Updated August 16, 2012. Accessed December 4, 2013.
Prevention of acute pancreatitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated November 12, 2013. Accessed December 4, 2013.
4/7/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Baker ME, Nelson RC, et al. ACR Appropriateness Criteria for acute pancreatitis. American College of Radiology (ACR); 2013. 11 p. Available at: http://www.guideline.gov/content.aspx?id=47649. Accessed April 7, 2014.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 12/2013
- Update Date: 04/07/2014