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Acute pancreatitis

Acute pancreatitis: Introduction

Acute pancreatitis is a serious disease of the pancreas, an organ and gland in the upper abdominal area. It is characterized by a sudden and severe inflammation of the pancreas and can be life-threatening and led to other serious complications.

The pancreas produces and secretes digestive enzymes that help to digest food. These enzymes flow from the pancreas through the pancreatic duct into the small intestine, where they become active and break down food. In pancreatitis, inflammation causes these digestive enzymes to become active while still in the pancreas where they begin to digest the pancreas itself.

Acute pancreatitis is often caused by alcohol abuse or gallstones. Less commonly it may also be caused by a reaction to medications, abdominal trauma, pancreatic cancer, duodenal ulcer, genetic deformities of the pancreas, and other conditions.

This process leads to the symptoms of acute pancreatitis that typically includes severe abdominal pain. People with acute pancreatitis are also at risk for developing chronic pancreatitis. Other complications of acute pancreatitis include diabetes, malabsorption, hemorrhage, and organ failure, which can be serious, even life threatening, and result in additional symptoms. For more details on symptoms, refer to symptoms of acute pancreatitis.

Making a diagnosis of acute pancreatitis begins with taking a thorough medical history, including symptoms and history of alcohol use. A physical examination is also performed, which usually reveals severe tenderness of the upper abdomen.

Diagnostic testing includes blood tests to measure the amount of chemicals called lipase and amylase in the blood. Levels of amylase and lipase can be very high in acute pancreatitis.

Imaging tests may include an abdominal ultrasound and CT scan, which can reveal gallstones, one of the causes of pancreatitis. CT scan may also show damage or calcification of the pancreas, a sign of chronic pancreatitis. Other tests that help to visualize the pancreas and related structures, such as the bile ducts and the gallbladder, include endoscopic ultrasound and MRI.

It is possible that a diagnosis of acute pancreatitis can be missed because symptoms may be attributed to other conditions with similar symptoms. For more information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of acute pancreatitis.

The treatment for acute pancreatitis involves a multifaceted approach. Treatment plans vary depending on the severity of the symptoms, the presence of complications, and an individual's medical history. Acute pancreatitis is treated in the hospital and includes the intravenous administration of antibiotics, fluids, and pain medications, and monitoring for the development of complications. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of acute pancreatitis....more »

Acute pancreatitis: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of acute pancreatitis may be delayed or missed because some symptoms, such as abdominal pain, weight loss, nausea, and diarrhea can attributed to many other conditions as such as gastroenteritis, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, or peptic ulcer. It is important to seek prompt medical care if you experience any ...more misdiagnosis »

Causes of Acute pancreatitis:

The following medical conditions are some of the possible causes of Acute pancreatitis. There are likely to be other possible causes, so ask your doctor about your symptoms.

» Review Causes of Acute pancreatitis: Causes | Symptom Checker »

Common Causes of Acute pancreatitis

Home Diagnostic Testing and Acute pancreatitis

Home medical tests possibly related to Acute pancreatitis:

Acute pancreatitis: Symptom Checker

Listed below are some combinations of symptoms associated with Acute pancreatitis, as listed in our database. Visit the Symptom Checker, to add and remove symptoms and research your condition.

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Acute pancreatitis Treatments

The goal of treatment of acute pancreatitis is to control symptoms, such as abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting, and minimize the secretion of digestive enzymes to allow the pancreas to heal. Treatment also aims to prevent the development of serious complications, such as chronic pancreatitis, malabsorption, and malnutrition, kidney failure, and ...Acute pancreatitis Treatments

Some of the possible treatments listed in sources for treatment of Acute pancreatitis may include:

  • Adequate rehydration
  • Analgesia
  • Pancreatic rest and to restore normal metabolic homeostasis
  • Surgical management rrarely needed
  • Longitudinal pancreaticojejunostomy
  • Distal pancreatectomy with Roux-en-Y pancreaticojejunostomy
  • more treatments...»

Review further information on Acute pancreatitis Treatments.

Acute pancreatitis: Animations

Acute pancreatitis: Comorbid Symptoms

Some of the comorbid or associated medical symptoms for Acute pancreatitis may include these symptoms:

Causes of General Symptom Types

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Research the causes of broader types of this symptom:

Research the causes of related medical symptoms such as:

Causes of Similar Symptoms to Acute pancreatitis

Research the causes of these symptoms that are similar to, or related to, the symptom Acute pancreatitis:

Acute pancreatitis: Deaths

Read more about causes and Acute pancreatitis deaths.

In-Depth Reports: Diagnosis and Misdiagnosis

Diabetes diagnosis and misdiagnosis (In-Depth Report): Detailed report on diabetes misdiagnoses, rare curable types, and less common diagnostic full report »

Misdiagnosis and Acute pancreatitis

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Heart attacks can be undiagnosed: Although the most severe symptoms of heart attack are hard to miss, there are varying degrees of severity. It is altogether too common for people to die from undiagnosed more »

Heart attacks can be overdiagnosed: Although many people die from heart attacks, there are also many cases where people fear that they have a heart attack, but actually have something milder. Some of the more »

Cluster of diseases with difficult diagnosis issues: There is a well-known list of medical conditions that are all somewhat difficult to diagnose, and all can present in a variety of more »

Chronic digestive conditions often misdiagnosed: When diagnosing chronic symptoms of the digestive tract, there are a variety of conditions that may more »

Intestinal bacteria disorder may be hidden cause: One of the lesser known causes of diarrhea is an imbalance of bacterial in the gut, sometimes called intestinal imbalance. The digestive system more »

Antibiotics often causes diarrhea: The use of antibiotics are very likely to cause some level of diarrhea in patients. The reason is that antibiotics kill off not only "bad" bacteria, but can also kill the "good" more »

Food poisoning may actually be an infectious disease: Many people who come down with "stomach symptoms" like diarrhea assume that it's "something I ate" (i.e. food poisoning). In fact, it's more likely to be an infectious diarrheal illness (i.e. more »

Mesenteric adenitis misdiagnosed as appendicitis in children: Because appendicitis is one of the more feared conditions for a child with abdominal pain, it can be over-diagnosed (it can, of course, also fail to be diagnosed more »

Poorly healing leg rashes a classic sign of chronic disease: Recurring leg rashes, or poorly healing leg rashes, are a classic sign of undiagnosed diabetes, particularly of Type 2 diabetes, but also Type 1 diabetes. They more »

Leg cramps at night a classic sign: The symptom of having leg muscle cramps, particularly at night, is a classic sign of undiagnosed diabetes. However, there are also various other causes. See causes of leg cramps or misdiagnosis more »

Celiac disease often fails to be diagnosed cause of chronic digestive symptoms: One of the most common chronic digestive conditions is celiac disease, more »

Obesity-related conditions undiagnosed in children: A variety of conditions are associated with obesity (see obesity), but these tend to be undiagnosed more often in child patients than in adults. Some of the overlooked conditions more »

Chronic digestive diseases hard to diagnose: There is an inherent difficulty in diagnosing the various types of chronic digestive diseases. Some more »

Acute pancreatitis: Research Related Doctors & Specialists

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Hospitals & Clinics: Acute pancreatitis

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Acute pancreatitis: Related Rare Diseases

Rare types of medical conditions and diseases in related medical categories:

Acute pancreatitis: Undiagnosed Conditions

Conditions that are commonly undiagnosed in related areas may include:

Causes of Acute pancreatitis listed in Disease Database:

Other medical conditions listed in the Disease Database as possible causes of Acute pancreatitis as a symptom include:

Detailed list of causes of Acute pancreatitis

The list below shows some of the causes of Acute pancreatitis mentioned in various sources:

How Common are these Causes of Acute pancreatitis?

This information refers to the general prevalence and incidence of these diseases, not to how likely they are to be the actual cause of Acute pancreatitis. Of the 78 causes of Acute pancreatitis that we have listed, we have the following prevalence/incidence information:

  • 3 causes are "very common" diseases
  • 3 causes are "common" diseases
  • 0 causes are "uncommon" diseases
  • 1 causes are "rare" diseases
  • 3 causes are "very rare" diseases
  • 71 causes have no prevalence information.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Acute pancreatitis:

The following list of conditions have 'Acute pancreatitis' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Acute pancreatitis or choose View All.

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Conditions listing medical complications: Acute pancreatitis:

The following list of medical conditions have Acute pancreatitis or similar listed as a medical complication in our database. The distinction between a symptom and complication is not always clear, and conditions mentioning this symptom as a complication may also be relevant. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.




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Causes of Acute pancreatitis Based on Risk Factors

This information shows analysis of the list of causes of Acute pancreatitis based on whether certain risk factors apply to the patient:

  • Diabetes - history of diabetes or family history of diabetes?

    Classifications of Acute pancreatitis:

    Medical Conditions associated with Acute pancreatitis:

    Pancreas symptoms (271 causes), Upper abdominal symptoms (2707 causes), Abdominal symptoms (5930 causes), Digestive system symptoms (5299 causes), Inflammatory symptoms (1736 causes), Infection-related symptoms (1293 causes)

    Symptoms related to Acute pancreatitis:

    Abdominal pain (2568 causes), Vomiting (2819 causes), Infection (1293 causes), Serum amylase, Drugs, Mumps (3 causes), Gall stones (43 causes), Alcoholism

    Medical articles on signs and symptoms:

    Doctor-patient articles related to symptoms and diagnosis:

    These general medical articles may be of interest:

    Evidence Based Medicine Research for Acute pancreatitis

    Medical research papers related to Acute pancreatitis include:

    Research More Evidence-Based Medicine at

    Related medical articles from our Disease Center for Acute Pancreatitis:

    More Ways To Research Medical Signs and Symptoms:


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