Acute Pancreatitis

Acute Pancreatitis is a serious condition that affects the pancreas. It is a sudden inflammation of the pancreas that is painful and sometimes deadly. Most people who suffer from this condition improve within a week but severe cases can bring complications that can be very fatal. Despite the great advances in medicine, the mortality rate of this condition remains 10%.

Acute Pancreatitis Symptoms

The most common symptoms of pancreatitis are:

  • Diarrhea
  • Gradual or sudden severe pain in the center of the abdomen that extends to the back
  • Feeling sick
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid pulse
  • Swollen and tender abdomen

Acute Pancreatitis Causes

Acute pancreatitis is most often linked to:

The most common cause is the gallstone that got stuck in the bile duct of the pancreas or as a result of the backflow of the bile into the duct of the pancreas. Other causes of acute pancreatitis are:

  • High triglyceride levels in the
  • High triglyceride levels in the blood
  • Certain types of medication
  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • High calcium levels in the blood
  • Viral infections like measles and mumps
  • Accidental damage
  • Certain rare conditions like hyperparathyroidism, Reye’s syndrome and Kawasaki disease

Risk Factors of Acute pancreatitis

Risk factors include:

  • Age- those who are in middle-aged and elderly people are more prone to this condition
  • Alcoholism
  • Being obese
  • Smoking

Diagnosis of Acute pancreatitis

Diagnosis includes:

  • A blood test
  • An imaging test such as a CT scan, Ultrasound and an MRI to get detailed information about the pancreas.

Other test includes withdrawal of infected material in the pancreas using a needle.

Treatment of Acute pancreatitis

Acute pancreatitis is treated in the hospital for about 5 to 10 days.

  • Fluids- is given through an IV to prevent your body from becoming dehydrated and will ensure the rest of the organs will get enough water.
  • Nutritional support– through a feeding tube to provide your body with sufficient nutrients
  • A painkiller such as morphine to control pain associated with this condition
  • Treating the underlying condition once the condition is under control
    • Gallstone removal
    • Alcohol consumption through medication, counseling
    • Antioxidant stress

Acute Pancreatitis Complications

Acute pancreatitis may improve quickly but if left untreated may result in life-threatening complication such as multiple organ failure.