I am a
Home I AM A Search Login

Papers of the Week

2022 Sep 08


Acute Pancreatitis: Diagnosis and Treatment.


Szatmary P, Grammatikopoulos T, Cai W, Huang W, Mukherjee R, Halloran C, Beyer G, Sutton R
Drugs. 2022 Sep 08.
PMID: 36074322.


Acute pancreatitis is a common indication for hospital admission, increasing in incidence, including in children, pregnancy and the elderly. Moderately severe acute pancreatitis with fluid and/or necrotic collections causes substantial morbidity, and severe disease with persistent organ failure causes significant mortality. The diagnosis requires two of upper abdominal pain, amylase/lipase ≥ 3 ×upper limit of normal, and/or cross-sectional imaging findings. Gallstones and ethanol predominate while hypertriglyceridaemia and drugs are notable among many causes. Serum triglycerides, full blood count, renal and liver function tests, glucose, calcium, transabdominal ultrasound, and chest imaging are indicated, with abdominal cross-sectional imaging if there is diagnostic uncertainty. Subsequent imaging is undertaken to detect complications, for example, if C-reactive protein exceeds 150 mg/L, or rarer aetiologies. Pancreatic intracellular calcium overload, mitochondrial impairment, and inflammatory responses are critical in pathogenesis, targeted in current treatment trials, which are crucially important as there is no internationally licenced drug to treat acute pancreatitis and prevent complications. Initial priorities are intravenous fluid resuscitation, analgesia, and enteral nutrition, and when necessary, critical care and organ support, parenteral nutrition, antibiotics, pancreatic exocrine and endocrine replacement therapy; all may have adverse effects. Patients with local complications should be referred to specialist tertiary centres to guide further management, which may include drainage and/or necrosectomy. The impact of acute pancreatitis can be devastating, so prevention or reduction of the risk of recurrence and progression to chronic pancreatitis with an increased risk of pancreas cancer requires proactive management that should be long term for some patients.