Acute Pancreatitis: Etiology, Pathology, Diagnosis, and Treatment

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Abstract

Acute pancreatitis is a fascinating disease. In the United States, the two most common etiologies of acute pancreatitis are gallstones and excessive alcohol consumption. The diagnosis of acute pancreatitis is made with a combination of history, physical examination, computed tomography scan, and laboratory evaluation. Differentiating patients who will have a benign course of their pancreatitis from patients who will have severe pancreatitis is challenging to the clinician. C-reactive protein, pro-calcitonin, and the Bedside Index for Severity of Acute Pancreatitis appeared to be the best tools for the early and accurate diagnosis of severe pancreatitis. Early laparoscopic cholecystectomy is indicated for patients with mild gallstone pancreatitis. For patients who are going to have a prolonged hospitalization, enteral nutrition is preferred. Total parenteral nutrition should be reserved for patients who cannot tolerate enteral nutrition. Prophylactic antibiotics are not indicated for patients with pancreatic necrosis. Surgical intervention for infected pancreatic necrosis should be delayed as long as possible to improve patient outcomes.

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