Clinical chronic pancreatitis

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Abstract

Purpose of review

To summarize observations in clinical chronic pancreatitis in the past year.

Recent findings

A predisposing genetic mutation was identified in 67% of cases of pediatric chronic pancreatitis. A novel susceptibility gene involving a hybrid allele is associated with idiopathic chronic pancreatitis. ABO blood type B and FUT2 nonsecretor status is associated with asymptomatic hyperlipasemia and chronic pancreatitis. Alcohol consumption impairs cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) activity leading to decreased bicarbonate secretion and patients with susceptible CFTR mutations can develop clinical pancreatitis. Computed tomography imaging findings in chronic pancreatitis correlate poorly with pain patterns. Endoscopic ultrasound features correlate poorly with fibrosis. Circulating epithelial cells are present in chronic pancreatitis patients but not healthy volunteers. Surgery is superior to endoscopic treatment in providing durable pain relief (>5 years). Repetitive pancreatic duct stent placements and chronic narcotic use are preoperative predictors of poor outcome after total pancreatectomy with islet cell auto transplantation.

Summary

Novel genetic mutations for idiopathic chronic pancreatitis are being identified. Alcohol impairs CFTR activity and may explain a mechanism for pancreatitis. Current imaging modalities correlate poorly with clinical pain presentation and fibrosis in chronic pancreatitis. Novel imaging modalities are needed. As total pancreatectomy with islet cell auto transplantation grows, rigorous outcomes analysis is needed to drive patient selection.

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