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Acute Pancreatitis

Acute pancreatitis is an inflammatory disease of the pancreas Pancreas The pancreas lies mostly posterior to the stomach and extends across the posterior abdominal wall from the duodenum on the right to the spleen on the left. This organ has both exocrine and endocrine tissue. Pancreas: Anatomy due to autodigestion. Common etiologies include gallstones Gallstones Cholelithiasis (gallstones) is the presence of stones in the gallbladder. Most gallstones are cholesterol stones, while the rest are composed of bilirubin (pigment stones) and other mixed components. Patients are commonly asymptomatic but may present with biliary colic (intermittent pain in the right upper quadrant). Cholelithiasis and excessive alcohol use. Patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship typically present with epigastric pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways radiating to the back. Diagnosis requires 2 of 3 criteria, including: characteristic abdominal pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways, serum amylase Amylase A group of amylolytic enzymes that cleave starch, glycogen, and related alpha-1, 4-glucans. Digestion and Absorption and lipase Lipase An enzyme of the hydrolase class that catalyzes the reaction of triacylglycerol and water to yield diacylglycerol and a fatty acid anion. It is produced by glands on the tongue and by the pancreas and initiates the digestion of dietary fats. Malabsorption and Maldigestion 3 times the upper limit Limit A value (e.g., pressure or time) that should not be exceeded and which is specified by the operator to protect the lung Invasive Mechanical Ventilation of normal, or characteristic radiology findings. Ranson’s criteria is commonly used to assess the severity. Management includes aggressive intravenous (IV) hydration, analgesia Analgesia Methods of pain relief that may be used with or in place of analgesics. Anesthesiology: History and Basic Concepts, nutritional support, and treatment of the underlying cause.

Last updated: 1 Jul, 2022

Editorial responsibility: Stanley Oiseth, Lindsay Jones, Evelin Maza

Epidemiology and Etiology

Epidemiology

  • Incidence Incidence The number of new cases of a given disease during a given period in a specified population. It also is used for the rate at which new events occur in a defined population. It is differentiated from prevalence, which refers to all cases in the population at a given time. Measures of Disease Frequency:
    • United States: 40–50 cases per 100,000 adults
    • Worldwide: 5–80 per 100,000 adults
  • Men > women
    • Men: likely due to alcohol
    • Women: related to biliary tract Biliary tract Bile is secreted by hepatocytes into thin channels called canaliculi. These canaliculi lead into slightly larger interlobular bile ductules, which are part of the portal triads at the “corners” of hepatic lobules. The bile leaves the liver via the right and left hepatic ducts, which join together to form the common hepatic duct. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract: Anatomy disease
  • Mortality Mortality All deaths reported in a given population. Measures of Health Status is approximately 5%, overall:
    • Necrotizing pancreatitis: 17%
    • Interstitial pancreatitis: 3%

Etiology

  • Biliary tract Biliary tract Bile is secreted by hepatocytes into thin channels called canaliculi. These canaliculi lead into slightly larger interlobular bile ductules, which are part of the portal triads at the “corners” of hepatic lobules. The bile leaves the liver via the right and left hepatic ducts, which join together to form the common hepatic duct. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract: Anatomy disease: 
    • Approximately 40% of cases
    • Caused by biliary obstruction due to a stone
  • Alcohol use:
    • Approximately 30% of cases
    • Often an exacerbation of chronic pancreatitis Chronic pancreatitis Chronic pancreatitis is due to persistent inflammation, fibrosis, and irreversible cell damage to the pancreas, resulting in a loss of endocrine and exocrine gland function. The most common etiologies are alcohol abuse and pancreatic duct obstruction. Patients often present with recurrent epigastric abdominal pain, nausea, and features of malabsorption syndrome (diarrhea, steatorrhea, and weight loss). Chronic Pancreatitis
    • Usually seen with habitual consumption over 515 years, but may be seen after a binge
  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography Fiberoptic endoscopy designed for duodenal observation and cannulation of Vater’s ampulla, in order to visualize the pancreatic and biliary duct system by retrograde injection of contrast media. Endoscopic (Vater) papillotomy may be performed during this procedure. Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis ( ERCP ERCP Fiberoptic endoscopy designed for duodenal observation and cannulation of vater’s ampulla, in order to visualize the pancreatic and biliary duct system by retrograde injection of contrast media. Endoscopic (vater) papillotomy may be performed during this procedure. Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis):
    • Can cause accidental lodging of stone into the sphincter of Oddi
    • Increased risk in sphincter of Oddi dysfunction
  • Abdominal trauma:
  • Drugs:
    • Azathioprine Azathioprine An immunosuppressive agent used in combination with cyclophosphamide and hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. According to the fourth annual report on carcinogens, this substance has been listed as a known carcinogen. Immunosuppressants
    • Sulfonamides Sulfonamides A group of compounds that contain the structure so2nh2. Sulfonamides and Trimethoprim
    • Tetracycline Tetracycline A naphthacene antibiotic that inhibits amino Acyl tRNA binding during protein synthesis. Drug-induced Liver Injury
    • Valproic acid Valproic acid A fatty acid with anticonvulsant and anti-manic properties that is used in the treatment of epilepsy and bipolar disorder. The mechanisms of its therapeutic actions are not well understood. It may act by increasing gamma-aminobutyric acid levels in the brain or by altering the properties of voltage-gated sodium channels. First-Generation Anticonvulsant Drugs
    • Estrogens
    • Thiazide Thiazide Heterocyclic compounds with sulfur and nitrogen in the ring. This term commonly refers to the benzothiadiazines that inhibit sodium-potassium-chloride symporters and are used as diuretics. Hyponatremia and loop diuretics Loop diuretics Loop diuretics are a group of diuretic medications primarily used to treat fluid overload in edematous conditions such as heart failure and cirrhosis. Loop diuretics also treat hypertension, but not as a 1st-line agent. Loop Diuretics
    • Corticosteroids Corticosteroids Chorioretinitis
    • Octreotide Octreotide A potent, long-acting synthetic somatostatin octapeptide analog that inhibits secretion of growth hormone and is used to treat hormone-secreting tumors; diabetes mellitus; hypotension, orthostatic; hyperinsulinism; hypergastrinemia; and small bowel fistula. Antidiarrheal Drugs
    • Pentamidine
  • Idiopathic Idiopathic Dermatomyositis
    • Approximately 10%–30% of cases
    • Occult microlithiasis may be responsible.
  • Less common causes:
    • Infections Infections Invasion of the host organism by microorganisms or their toxins or by parasites that can cause pathological conditions or diseases. Chronic Granulomatous Disease
      • Mumps Mumps Mumps is caused by a single-stranded, linear, negative-sense RNA virus of the family Paramyxoviridae. Mumps is typically a disease of childhood, which manifests initially with fever, muscle pain, headache, poor appetite, and a general feeling of malaise, and is classically followed by parotitis. Mumps Virus/Mumps
      • Hepatitis
      • Cytomegalovirus Cytomegalovirus CMV is a ubiquitous double-stranded DNA virus belonging to the Herpesviridae family. CMV infections can be transmitted in bodily fluids, such as blood, saliva, urine, semen, and breast milk. The initial infection is usually asymptomatic in the immunocompetent host, or it can present with symptoms of mononucleosis. Cytomegalovirus
      • Coxsackievirus Coxsackievirus Coxsackievirus is a member of a family of viruses called Picornaviridae and the genus Enterovirus. Coxsackieviruses are single-stranded, positive-sense RNA viruses, and are divided into coxsackie group A and B viruses. Both groups of viruses cause upper respiratory infections, rashes, aseptic meningitis, or encephalitis. Coxsackievirus
      • Salmonella Salmonella Salmonellae are gram-negative bacilli of the family Enterobacteriaceae. Salmonellae are flagellated, non-lactose-fermenting, and hydrogen sulfide-producing microbes. Salmonella enterica, the most common disease-causing species in humans, is further classified based on serotype as typhoidal (S. typhi and paratyphi) and nontyphoidal (S. enteritidis and typhimurium). Salmonella
      • Parasites
    • Genetic predispositions (e.g., CFTR mutation Mutation Genetic mutations are errors in DNA that can cause protein misfolding and dysfunction. There are various types of mutations, including chromosomal, point, frameshift, and expansion mutations. Types of Mutations, as in cystic fibrosis Cystic fibrosis Cystic fibrosis is an autosomal recessive disorder caused by mutations in the gene CFTR. The mutations lead to dysfunction of chloride channels, which results in hyperviscous mucus and the accumulation of secretions. Common presentations include chronic respiratory infections, failure to thrive, and pancreatic insufficiency. Cystic Fibrosis)
    • Hypercalcemia Hypercalcemia Hypercalcemia (serum calcium > 10.5 mg/dL) can result from various conditions, the majority of which are due to hyperparathyroidism and malignancy. Other causes include disorders leading to vitamin D elevation, granulomatous diseases, and the use of certain pharmacological agents. Symptoms vary depending on calcium levels and the onset of hypercalcemia. Hypercalcemia
    • Hypertriglyceridemia Hypertriglyceridemia A condition of elevated levels of triglycerides in the blood. Lipid Disorders
    • Tumors
    • Toxins: 
      • Organophosphates 
      • Scorpion bite
    • Vascular or ischemic
    • Autoimmune pancreatitis (IgG4)
    • Developmental:

Related videos

Pathophysiology

Normal pancreatic function

  • The pancreas Pancreas The pancreas lies mostly posterior to the stomach and extends across the posterior abdominal wall from the duodenum on the right to the spleen on the left. This organ has both exocrine and endocrine tissue. Pancreas: Anatomy has endocrine ( insulin Insulin Insulin is a peptide hormone that is produced by the beta cells of the pancreas. Insulin plays a role in metabolic functions such as glucose uptake, glycolysis, glycogenesis, lipogenesis, and protein synthesis. Exogenous insulin may be needed for individuals with diabetes mellitus, in whom there is a deficiency in endogenous insulin or increased insulin resistance. Insulin) and exocrine (digestive enzymes Enzymes Enzymes are complex protein biocatalysts that accelerate chemical reactions without being consumed by them. Due to the body’s constant metabolic needs, the absence of enzymes would make life unsustainable, as reactions would occur too slowly without these molecules. Basics of Enzymes) functions.
  • Digestive enzymes Enzymes Enzymes are complex protein biocatalysts that accelerate chemical reactions without being consumed by them. Due to the body’s constant metabolic needs, the absence of enzymes would make life unsustainable, as reactions would occur too slowly without these molecules. Basics of Enzymes made in acinar cells Acinar cells Cells lining the saclike dilatations known as acini of various glands or the lungs. Gastrointestinal Secretions → stored as zymogens (inactive form) → released in the pancreatic duct and small intestine Small intestine The small intestine is the longest part of the GI tract, extending from the pyloric orifice of the stomach to the ileocecal junction. The small intestine is the major organ responsible for chemical digestion and absorption of nutrients. It is divided into 3 segments: the duodenum, the jejunum, and the ileum. Small Intestine: Anatomy → activation by trypsin Trypsin A serine endopeptidase that is formed from trypsinogen in the pancreas. It is converted into its active form by enteropeptidase in the small intestine. It catalyzes hydrolysis of the carboxyl group of either arginine or lysine. Proteins and Peptides
  • Protective mechanisms against organ injury (autodigestion) include:
    • Negative feedback Negative feedback Hypothalamic and Pituitary Hormones mechanism (↑ trypsin Trypsin A serine endopeptidase that is formed from trypsinogen in the pancreas. It is converted into its active form by enteropeptidase in the small intestine. It catalyzes hydrolysis of the carboxyl group of either arginine or lysine. Proteins and Peptides in duodenum Duodenum The shortest and widest portion of the small intestine adjacent to the pylorus of the stomach. It is named for having the length equal to about the width of 12 fingers. Small Intestine: Anatomy → ↓ cholecystokinin Cholecystokinin A peptide, of about 33 amino acids, secreted by the upper intestinal mucosa and also found in the central nervous system. It causes gallbladder contraction, release of pancreatic exocrine (or digestive) enzymes, and affects other gastrointestinal functions. Cholecystokinin may be the mediator of satiety. Gastrointestinal Secretions (CCK) and secretin Secretin A peptide hormone of about 27 amino acids from the duodenal mucosa that activates pancreatic secretion and lowers the blood sugar level. Gastrointestinal Secretions → ↓ pancreatic secretion Secretion Coagulation Studies)
    • Zymogens are controlled with protease Protease Enzyme of the human immunodeficiency virus that is required for post-translational cleavage of gag and gag-pol precursor polyproteins into functional products needed for viral assembly. HIV protease is an aspartic protease encoded by the amino terminus of the pol gene. HIV Infection and AIDS inhibitors.
    • ↓ Acinar cell pH pH The quantitative measurement of the acidity or basicity of a solution. Acid-Base Balance and calcium Calcium A basic element found in nearly all tissues. It is a member of the alkaline earth family of metals with the atomic symbol ca, atomic number 20, and atomic weight 40. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and combines with phosphorus to form calcium phosphate in the bones and teeth. It is essential for the normal functioning of nerves and muscles and plays a role in blood coagulation (as factor IV) and in many enzymatic processes. Electrolytes concentrations → prevent premature Premature Childbirth before 37 weeks of pregnancy (259 days from the first day of the mother’s last menstrual period, or 245 days after fertilization). Necrotizing Enterocolitis activation of trypsin Trypsin A serine endopeptidase that is formed from trypsinogen in the pancreas. It is converted into its active form by enteropeptidase in the small intestine. It catalyzes hydrolysis of the carboxyl group of either arginine or lysine. Proteins and Peptides
  • Anything that disrupts the homeostasis Homeostasis The processes whereby the internal environment of an organism tends to remain balanced and stable. Cell Injury and Death of normal pancreatic function can cause acute pancreatitis.

Acute pancreatitis pathogenesis

  1. Initiated through acinar cell injury Cell injury The cell undergoes a variety of changes in response to injury, which may or may not lead to cell death. Injurious stimuli trigger the process of cellular adaptation, whereby cells respond to withstand the harmful changes in their environment. Overwhelmed adaptive mechanisms lead to cell injury. Mild stimuli produce reversible injury. If the stimulus is severe or persistent, injury becomes irreversible. Cell Injury and Death from:
    • Biliary obstruction → increased pancreatic duct pressure → acinar cell injury Cell injury The cell undergoes a variety of changes in response to injury, which may or may not lead to cell death. Injurious stimuli trigger the process of cellular adaptation, whereby cells respond to withstand the harmful changes in their environment. Overwhelmed adaptive mechanisms lead to cell injury. Mild stimuli produce reversible injury. If the stimulus is severe or persistent, injury becomes irreversible. Cell Injury and Death
    • Direct injury (e.g., toxins, alcohol)
  2. Changes in acinar cell pH pH The quantitative measurement of the acidity or basicity of a solution. Acid-Base Balance and calcium Calcium A basic element found in nearly all tissues. It is a member of the alkaline earth family of metals with the atomic symbol ca, atomic number 20, and atomic weight 40. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and combines with phosphorus to form calcium phosphate in the bones and teeth. It is essential for the normal functioning of nerves and muscles and plays a role in blood coagulation (as factor IV) and in many enzymatic processes. Electrolytes concentrations → allows intrapancreatic activation of trypsin Trypsin A serine endopeptidase that is formed from trypsinogen in the pancreas. It is converted into its active form by enteropeptidase in the small intestine. It catalyzes hydrolysis of the carboxyl group of either arginine or lysine. Proteins and Peptides → activation of zymogens → autodigestion
  3. Inhibited secretion Secretion Coagulation Studies on zymogens into the pancreatic ducts → exocytosis Exocytosis Cellular release of material within membrane-limited vesicles by fusion of the vesicles with the cell membrane. The Cell: Cell Membrane into the interstitium → not fully understood, but believed to lead to attraction of inflammatory cells
  4. Inflammatory cells arrive → cytokine release Release Release of a virus from the host cell following virus assembly and maturation. Egress can occur by host cell lysis, exocytosis, or budding through the plasma membrane. Virology → pancreatic inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body’s defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation
  5. Cytokine release Release Release of a virus from the host cell following virus assembly and maturation. Egress can occur by host cell lysis, exocytosis, or budding through the plasma membrane. Virology and vascular injury from enzymes Enzymes Enzymes are complex protein biocatalysts that accelerate chemical reactions without being consumed by them. Due to the body’s constant metabolic needs, the absence of enzymes would make life unsustainable, as reactions would occur too slowly without these molecules. Basics of Enzymes vasodilation Vasodilation The physiological widening of blood vessels by relaxing the underlying vascular smooth muscle. Pulmonary Hypertension Drugs and vascular permeability → fluid shifting to the interstitial space (3rd spacing) → decreased perfusion and hypotension Hypotension Hypotension is defined as low blood pressure, specifically < 90/60 mm Hg, and is most commonly a physiologic response. Hypotension may be mild, serious, or life threatening, depending on the cause. Hypotension → can result in:
    • Shock Shock Shock is a life-threatening condition associated with impaired circulation that results in tissue hypoxia. The different types of shock are based on the underlying cause: distributive (↑ cardiac output (CO), ↓ systemic vascular resistance (SVR)), cardiogenic (↓ CO, ↑ SVR), hypovolemic (↓ CO, ↑ SVR), obstructive (↓ CO), and mixed. Types of Shock
    • Acute renal failure Renal failure Conditions in which the kidneys perform below the normal level in the ability to remove wastes, concentrate urine, and maintain electrolyte balance; blood pressure; and calcium metabolism. Renal insufficiency can be classified by the degree of kidney damage (as measured by the level of proteinuria) and reduction in glomerular filtration rate. Crush Syndrome
    • Pancreatic necrosis Necrosis The death of cells in an organ or tissue due to disease, injury or failure of the blood supply. Ischemic Cell Damage
Pathogenesis acute pancreatitis

Acute pancreatitis

Image by Lecturio.

Clinical Presentation

Symptoms

  • Acute abdominal pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways:
    • Epigastric
    • Dull and steady
    • Sudden onset, increasing in severity
    • Radiation Radiation Emission or propagation of acoustic waves (sound), electromagnetic energy waves (such as light; radio waves; gamma rays; or x-rays), or a stream of subatomic particles (such as electrons; neutrons; protons; or alpha particles). Osteosarcoma to the back (approximately 50% of patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship)
  • Nausea Nausea An unpleasant sensation in the stomach usually accompanied by the urge to vomit. Common causes are early pregnancy, sea and motion sickness, emotional stress, intense pain, food poisoning, and various enteroviruses. Antiemetics and vomiting Vomiting The forcible expulsion of the contents of the stomach through the mouth. Hypokalemia
  • Anorexia Anorexia The lack or loss of appetite accompanied by an aversion to food and the inability to eat. It is the defining characteristic of the disorder anorexia nervosa. Anorexia Nervosa
  • Diarrhea Diarrhea Diarrhea is defined as ≥ 3 watery or loose stools in a 24-hour period. There are a multitude of etiologies, which can be classified based on the underlying mechanism of disease. The duration of symptoms (acute or chronic) and characteristics of the stools (e.g., watery, bloody, steatorrheic, mucoid) can help guide further diagnostic evaluation. Diarrhea
  • Low-grade fever Fever Fever is defined as a measured body temperature of at least 38°C (100.4°F). Fever is caused by circulating endogenous and/or exogenous pyrogens that increase levels of prostaglandin E2 in the hypothalamus. Fever is commonly associated with chills, rigors, sweating, and flushing of the skin. Fever

Physical examination

  • General:
    • Tachycardia Tachycardia Abnormally rapid heartbeat, usually with a heart rate above 100 beats per minute for adults. Tachycardia accompanied by disturbance in the cardiac depolarization (cardiac arrhythmia) is called tachyarrhythmia. Sepsis in Children
    • Abdominal tenderness
    • Abdominal distention Abdominal distention Megacolon
    • Diminished bowel sounds → ileus Ileus A condition caused by the lack of intestinal peristalsis or intestinal motility without any mechanical obstruction. This interference of the flow of intestinal contents often leads to intestinal obstruction. Ileus may be classified into postoperative, inflammatory, metabolic, neurogenic, and drug-induced. Small Bowel Obstruction
  • Evidence of severe disease:
    • Fever Fever Fever is defined as a measured body temperature of at least 38°C (100.4°F). Fever is caused by circulating endogenous and/or exogenous pyrogens that increase levels of prostaglandin E2 in the hypothalamus. Fever is commonly associated with chills, rigors, sweating, and flushing of the skin. Fever
    • Hypotension Hypotension Hypotension is defined as low blood pressure, specifically < 90/60 mm Hg, and is most commonly a physiologic response. Hypotension may be mild, serious, or life threatening, depending on the cause. Hypotension
    • Tachypnea Tachypnea Increased respiratory rate. Pulmonary Examination and crackles
    • Pale and diaphoretic
  • Signs of an underlying cause:
    • Hepatomegaly → alcoholic pancreatitis Alcoholic pancreatitis Acute or chronic inflammation of the pancreas due to excessive alcohol drinking. Alcoholic pancreatitis usually presents as an acute episode but it is a chronic progressive disease in alcoholics. Chronic Pancreatitis
    • Scleral icterus Scleral Icterus Jaundice or jaundice Jaundice Jaundice is the abnormal yellowing of the skin and/or sclera caused by the accumulation of bilirubin. Hyperbilirubinemia is caused by either an increase in bilirubin production or a decrease in the hepatic uptake, conjugation, or excretion of bilirubin. Jaundice choledocholithiasis Choledocholithiasis Presence or formation of gallstones in the common bile duct. Cholelithiasis
    • Muscle spasms Spasms An involuntary contraction of a muscle or group of muscles. Spasms may involve skeletal muscle or smooth muscle. Ion Channel Myopathy hypocalcemia Hypocalcemia Hypocalcemia, a serum calcium < 8.5 mg/dL, can result from various conditions. The causes may include hypoparathyroidism, drugs, disorders leading to vitamin D deficiency, and more. Calcium levels are regulated and affected by different elements such as dietary intake, parathyroid hormone (PTH), vitamin D, pH, and albumin. Presentation can range from an asymptomatic (mild deficiency) to a life-threatening condition (acute, significant deficiency). Hypocalcemia
    • Xanthomas Xanthomas Lipid Disorders hypertriglyceridemia Hypertriglyceridemia A condition of elevated levels of triglycerides in the blood. Lipid Disorders
  • Warning signs of retroperitoneal Retroperitoneal Peritoneum: Anatomy bleeding in severe, necrotizing pancreatitis:
    • Cullen’s sign: bluish discoloration around the umbilicus due to blood in the peritoneum Peritoneum The peritoneum is a serous membrane lining the abdominopelvic cavity. This lining is formed by connective tissue and originates from the mesoderm. The membrane lines both the abdominal walls (as parietal peritoneum) and all of the visceral organs (as visceral peritoneum). Peritoneum: Anatomy
    • Grey-Turner’s sign: reddish-brown discoloration on the flanks due to blood in the retroperitoneum or pancreatic exudates

Diagnosis

Diagnostic criteria

The diagnosis of acute pancreatitis requires at least 2 of the following:

  • Acute onset of epigastric abdominal pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways
  • Serum amylase Amylase A group of amylolytic enzymes that cleave starch, glycogen, and related alpha-1, 4-glucans. Digestion and Absorption or lipase Lipase An enzyme of the hydrolase class that catalyzes the reaction of triacylglycerol and water to yield diacylglycerol and a fatty acid anion. It is produced by glands on the tongue and by the pancreas and initiates the digestion of dietary fats. Malabsorption and Maldigestion > 3 times the upper limit Limit A value (e.g., pressure or time) that should not be exceeded and which is specified by the operator to protect the lung Invasive Mechanical Ventilation of normal
  • Characteristic findings on imaging

Laboratory evaluation

  • ↑ Serum amylase Amylase A group of amylolytic enzymes that cleave starch, glycogen, and related alpha-1, 4-glucans. Digestion and Absorption
  • ↑ Serum lipase Lipase An enzyme of the hydrolase class that catalyzes the reaction of triacylglycerol and water to yield diacylglycerol and a fatty acid anion. It is produced by glands on the tongue and by the pancreas and initiates the digestion of dietary fats. Malabsorption and Maldigestion: more specific for pancreatitis
  • Hepatic function tests:
    • Alanine Alanine A non-essential amino acid that occurs in high levels in its free state in plasma. It is produced from pyruvate by transamination. It is involved in sugar and acid metabolism, increases immunity, and provides energy for muscle tissue, brain, and the central nervous system. Synthesis of Nonessential Amino Acids transaminase Transaminase A subclass of enzymes of the transferase class that catalyze the transfer of an amino group from a donor (generally an amino acid) to an acceptor (generally a 2-keto acid). Most of these enzymes are pyridoxyl phosphate proteins. Catabolism of Amino Acids ( ALT ALT An enzyme that catalyzes the conversion of l-alanine and 2-oxoglutarate to pyruvate and l-glutamate. Liver Function Tests) > 150 U/L and ↑ bilirubin Bilirubin A bile pigment that is a degradation product of heme. Heme Metabolism → pancreatitis secondary to gallstones Gallstones Cholelithiasis (gallstones) is the presence of stones in the gallbladder. Most gallstones are cholesterol stones, while the rest are composed of bilirubin (pigment stones) and other mixed components. Patients are commonly asymptomatic but may present with biliary colic (intermittent pain in the right upper quadrant). Cholelithiasis
    • Maybe be ↑ with heavy alcohol use
  • Basic metabolic panel Basic Metabolic Panel Primary vs Secondary Headaches:
    • Calcium Calcium A basic element found in nearly all tissues. It is a member of the alkaline earth family of metals with the atomic symbol ca, atomic number 20, and atomic weight 40. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and combines with phosphorus to form calcium phosphate in the bones and teeth. It is essential for the normal functioning of nerves and muscles and plays a role in blood coagulation (as factor IV) and in many enzymatic processes. Electrolytes:
      • Calcium Calcium A basic element found in nearly all tissues. It is a member of the alkaline earth family of metals with the atomic symbol ca, atomic number 20, and atomic weight 40. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and combines with phosphorus to form calcium phosphate in the bones and teeth. It is essential for the normal functioning of nerves and muscles and plays a role in blood coagulation (as factor IV) and in many enzymatic processes. Electrolytes → may be a potential cause of pancreatitis
      • Calcium Calcium A basic element found in nearly all tissues. It is a member of the alkaline earth family of metals with the atomic symbol ca, atomic number 20, and atomic weight 40. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and combines with phosphorus to form calcium phosphate in the bones and teeth. It is essential for the normal functioning of nerves and muscles and plays a role in blood coagulation (as factor IV) and in many enzymatic processes. Electrolytes → frequently seen, and should be corrected
    • Electrolyte imbalances can occur due to 3rd spacing of fluids
    • ↑ Blood urea Urea A compound formed in the liver from ammonia produced by the deamination of amino acids. It is the principal end product of protein catabolism and constitutes about one half of the total urinary solids. Urea Cycle nitrogen Nitrogen An element with the atomic symbol n, atomic number 7, and atomic weight [14. 00643; 14. 00728]. Nitrogen exists as a diatomic gas and makes up about 78% of the earth’s atmosphere by volume. It is a constituent of proteins and nucleic acids and found in all living cells. Urea Cycle (BUN) → severe disease
  • Lactate dehydrogenase Lactate Dehydrogenase Osteosarcoma ( LDH LDH Osteosarcoma): ↑ in severe disease
  • Complete blood count:
    • Hematocrit Hematocrit The volume of packed red blood cells in a blood specimen. The volume is measured by centrifugation in a tube with graduated markings, or with automated blood cell counters. It is an indicator of erythrocyte status in disease. For example, anemia shows a low value; polycythemia, a high value. Neonatal Polycythemia → severe disease
    • ↑ WBCs → inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body’s defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation
  • C-reactive protein (CRP): > 150 mg/L at 48 hours → risk of severe pancreatitis and organ failure
  • Triglycerides Triglycerides Fatty Acids and Lipids: ↑ in hypertriglyceridemia Hypertriglyceridemia A condition of elevated levels of triglycerides in the blood. Lipid Disorders
  • Immunoglobulin G4 (IgG4): may be checked if autoimmune pancreatitis is suspected
  • Arterial blood gas Arterial blood gas Respiratory Alkalosis:
    • Should be done if the patient is tachypneic
    • Can evaluate oxygenation and acid-base status
Milky plasma

Milky plasma Plasma The residual portion of blood that is left after removal of blood cells by centrifugation without prior blood coagulation. Transfusion Products seen in a patient with hypertriglyceridemia Hypertriglyceridemia A condition of elevated levels of triglycerides in the blood. Lipid Disorders: If seen, milky plasma Plasma The residual portion of blood that is left after removal of blood cells by centrifugation without prior blood coagulation. Transfusion Products should be considered as a potential cause of acute pancreatitis.

Image: “Milky plasma Plasma The residual portion of blood that is left after removal of blood cells by centrifugation without prior blood coagulation. Transfusion Products” by the Department of Emergency and Critical Care Medicine, Ohta Nishinouchi Hospital, 2-5-20 Nishinouchi, Koriyama, Fukushima, 963-8558, Japan. License: CC BY 2.0.

Imaging

Imaging may not be required if the 1st 2 diagnostic criteria are met MET Preoperative Care, but can be used for evaluating the underlying cause and complications:

  • Computed tomography (CT):
    • Normal in 30% of cases
    • Potential findings:
      • Inflammatory changes of the pancreas Pancreas The pancreas lies mostly posterior to the stomach and extends across the posterior abdominal wall from the duodenum on the right to the spleen on the left. This organ has both exocrine and endocrine tissue. Pancreas: Anatomy
      • Necrosis Necrosis The death of cells in an organ or tissue due to disease, injury or failure of the blood supply. Ischemic Cell Damage, fluid collections, or pseudocysts can be seen later in the course.
  • Abdominal ultrasound (US):
    • Can be done if gallstone pancreatitis is suspected
    • Potential findings:
      • Gallstones Gallstones Cholelithiasis (gallstones) is the presence of stones in the gallbladder. Most gallstones are cholesterol stones, while the rest are composed of bilirubin (pigment stones) and other mixed components. Patients are commonly asymptomatic but may present with biliary colic (intermittent pain in the right upper quadrant). Cholelithiasis
      • Common bile duct common bile duct The largest bile duct. It is formed by the junction of the cystic duct and the common hepatic duct. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract: Anatomy ( CBD CBD Atypical Parkinsonian Syndromes) dilation
      • Pancreatic edema Edema Edema is a condition in which excess serous fluid accumulates in the body cavity or interstitial space of connective tissues. Edema is a symptom observed in several medical conditions. It can be categorized into 2 types, namely, peripheral (in the extremities) and internal (in an organ or body cavity). Edema 
      • Peripancreatic fluid
  • Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatogram ( MRCP MRCP Non-invasive diagnostic technique for visualizing the pancreatic ducts and bile ducts without the use of injected contrast media or x-ray. Mri scans provide excellent sensitivity for duct dilatation, biliary stricture, and intraductal abnormalities. Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis):
    • Can evaluate the biliary system
    • Findings:
      • Choledocholithiasis Choledocholithiasis Presence or formation of gallstones in the common bile duct. Cholelithiasis
      • Biliary dilation
      • Pancreatic edema Edema Edema is a condition in which excess serous fluid accumulates in the body cavity or interstitial space of connective tissues. Edema is a symptom observed in several medical conditions. It can be categorized into 2 types, namely, peripheral (in the extremities) and internal (in an organ or body cavity). Edema
      • Pancreatic necrosis Necrosis The death of cells in an organ or tissue due to disease, injury or failure of the blood supply. Ischemic Cell Damage or pseudocysts
  • Chest radiograph:
    • For patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship with pulmonary symptoms ( dyspnea Dyspnea Dyspnea is the subjective sensation of breathing discomfort. Dyspnea is a normal manifestation of heavy physical or psychological exertion, but also may be caused by underlying conditions (both pulmonary and extrapulmonary). Dyspnea, tachypnea Tachypnea Increased respiratory rate. Pulmonary Examination, hypoxia Hypoxia Sub-optimal oxygen levels in the ambient air of living organisms. Ischemic Cell Damage)
    • Potential findings: 
      • Pleural effusions
      • Basal atelectasis Atelectasis Atelectasis is the partial or complete collapse of a part of the lung. Atelectasis is almost always a secondary phenomenon from conditions causing bronchial obstruction, external compression, surfactant deficiency, or scarring. Atelectasis
      • Diffuse, patchy infiltrates indicating acute respiratory distress syndrome Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome Acute respiratory distress syndrome is characterized by the sudden onset of hypoxemia and bilateral pulmonary edema without cardiac failure. Sepsis is the most common cause of ARDS. The underlying mechanism and histologic correlate is diffuse alveolar damage (DAD). Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) ( ARDS ARDS Acute respiratory distress syndrome is characterized by the sudden onset of hypoxemia and bilateral pulmonary edema without cardiac failure. Sepsis is the most common cause of ARDS. The underlying mechanism and histologic correlate is diffuse alveolar damage (DAD). Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS))
  • Abdominal radiograph:
    • Limited role
    • “Sentinel loop” finding (short segment of ileus Ileus A condition caused by the lack of intestinal peristalsis or intestinal motility without any mechanical obstruction. This interference of the flow of intestinal contents often leads to intestinal obstruction. Ileus may be classified into postoperative, inflammatory, metabolic, neurogenic, and drug-induced. Small Bowel Obstruction near the pancreatic inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body’s defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation)

Prognosis Prognosis A prediction of the probable outcome of a disease based on a individual’s condition and the usual course of the disease as seen in similar situations. Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas evaluation

Identifying the severity of acute pancreatitis is helpful in order to ensure the patient is treated appropriately:

  • Ranson’s criteria (see table):
    • Widely used
    • The biggest disadvantage is that it takes 48 hours to complete the assessment.
  • Bedside index of severity in acute pancreatitis (BISAP) score (see table):
    • Simple
    • Calculated during the 1st 24 hours
  • Acute physiology and chronic health evaluation (APACHE) II score:
    • Evaluates age, temperature, mean Mean Mean is the sum of all measurements in a data set divided by the number of measurements in that data set. Measures of Central Tendency and Dispersion arterial pressure, heart rate Heart rate The number of times the heart ventricles contract per unit of time, usually per minute. Cardiac Physiology, respiratory rate Respiratory rate The number of times an organism breathes with the lungs (respiration) per unit time, usually per minute. Pulmonary Examination, blood gas results, WBC count, electrolytes Electrolytes Electrolytes are mineral salts that dissolve in water and dissociate into charged particles called ions, which can be either be positively (cations) or negatively (anions) charged. Electrolytes are distributed in the extracellular and intracellular compartments in different concentrations. Electrolytes are essential for various basic life-sustaining functions. Electrolytes, creatinine, Glasgow coma Coma Coma is defined as a deep state of unarousable unresponsiveness, characterized by a score of 3 points on the GCS. A comatose state can be caused by a multitude of conditions, making the precise epidemiology and prognosis of coma difficult to determine. Coma score ( GCS GCS A scale that assesses the response to stimuli in patients with craniocerebral injuries. The parameters are eye opening, motor response, and verbal response. Coma), and other health conditions
    • Very cumbersome and complex
Table: Ranson’s criteria (1 point each)
Present on admission At 48 hours after admission
Age > 55 years Decrease in hematocrit Hematocrit The volume of packed red blood cells in a blood specimen. The volume is measured by centrifugation in a tube with graduated markings, or with automated blood cell counters. It is an indicator of erythrocyte status in disease. For example, anemia shows a low value; polycythemia, a high value. Neonatal Polycythemia > 10%
WBC > 16,000/μL Increase in BUN by ≥ 5 mg/dL
Blood glucose Glucose A primary source of energy for living organisms. It is naturally occurring and is found in fruits and other parts of plants in its free state. It is used therapeutically in fluid and nutrient replacement. Lactose Intolerance > 200 mg/dL Serum Ca CA Condylomata acuminata are a clinical manifestation of genital HPV infection. Condylomata acuminata are described as raised, pearly, flesh-colored, papular, cauliflower-like lesions seen in the anogenital region that may cause itching, pain, or bleeding. Condylomata Acuminata (Genital Warts) < 8 mg/dL
Serum LDH LDH Osteosarcoma > 350 IU/L PaO2 < 60 mm MM Multiple myeloma (MM) is a malignant condition of plasma cells (activated B lymphocytes) primarily seen in the elderly. Monoclonal proliferation of plasma cells results in cytokine-driven osteoclastic activity and excessive secretion of IgG antibodies. Multiple Myeloma Hg
Aspartate Aspartate One of the non-essential amino acids commonly occurring in the l-form. It is found in animals and plants, especially in sugar cane and sugar beets. It may be a neurotransmitter. Synthesis of Nonessential Amino Acids transaminase Transaminase A subclass of enzymes of the transferase class that catalyze the transfer of an amino group from a donor (generally an amino acid) to an acceptor (generally a 2-keto acid). Most of these enzymes are pyridoxyl phosphate proteins. Catabolism of Amino Acids ( AST AST Enzymes of the transferase class that catalyze the conversion of l-aspartate and 2-ketoglutarate to oxaloacetate and l-glutamate. Liver Function Tests) > 250 IU/L Base deficit > 4 mEq/L
Estimated fluid sequestration > 6 L
0‒2: Minimal mortality Mortality All deaths reported in a given population. Measures of Health Status
3‒5: 10%‒20% mortality rate Mortality rate Calculated as the ratio of the total number of people who die due to all causes over a specific time period to the total number of people in the selected population. Measures of Health Status, must be admitted to ICU ICU Hospital units providing continuous surveillance and care to acutely ill patients. West Nile Virus
> 5: Increased risk of systemic complications and mortality Mortality All deaths reported in a given population. Measures of Health Status

Definitions:
  • PaO2 is the partial pressure Partial pressure The pressure that would be exerted by one component of a mixture of gases if it were present alone in a container. Gas Exchange of oxygen in arterial blood.
  • Base deficit indicates excess acid in the blood.
Table: BISAP score (1 point each)
BUN > 25 mg/dL
Impaired mental status GCS GCS A scale that assesses the response to stimuli in patients with craniocerebral injuries. The parameters are eye opening, motor response, and verbal response. Coma < 15
Systemic inflammatory response syndrome Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome Sepsis in Children (SIRS) Evidence of SIRS
Age > 60 years
Pleural effusion Pleural Effusion Pleural effusion refers to the accumulation of fluid between the layers of the parietal and visceral pleura. Common causes of this condition include infection, malignancy, autoimmune disorders, or volume overload. Clinical manifestations include chest pain, cough, and dyspnea. Pleural Effusion Positive finding on imaging
0‒2 points: lower mortality Mortality All deaths reported in a given population. Measures of Health Status (< 2%)
3‒5 points: higher mortality Mortality All deaths reported in a given population. Measures of Health Status (> 15%)

Management

Acute management

  • Basic treatment:
    • Aggressive intravenous fluid ( IVF IVF An assisted reproductive technique that includes the direct handling and manipulation of oocytes and sperm to achieve fertilization in vitro. Infertility) resuscitation Resuscitation The restoration to life or consciousness of one apparently dead. . Neonatal Respiratory Distress Syndrome 
    • Fluid intake and output monitoring
    • Close vital sign monitoring
    • Address electrolyte imbalances
    • Medications:
      • Analgesics (typically opioids Opioids Opiates are drugs that are derived from the sap of the opium poppy. Opiates have been used since antiquity for the relief of acute severe pain. Opioids are synthetic opiates with properties that are substantially similar to those of opiates. Opioid Analgesics)
      • Antiemetics Antiemetics Antiemetics are medications used to treat and/or prevent nausea and vomiting. These drugs act on different target receptors. The main classes include benzodiazepines, corticosteroids, atypical antipsychotics, cannabinoids, and antagonists of the following receptors: serotonin, dopamine, and muscarinic and neurokinin receptors. Antiemetics
    • Initial bowel rest
    • Early nutritional support:
      • Can be started as early as 24 hours, if pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways is decreasing
      • Is associated with ↓ morbidity Morbidity The proportion of patients with a particular disease during a given year per given unit of population. Measures of Health Status compared to delayed or no nutrition
  • Mild acute pancreatitis:
    • Can be treated on a general medical ward
    • May begin low-residue, low-fat diet as soon as tolerated
  • Severe acute pancreatitis:
    • Intensive care setting is preferred.
    • May require enteral nutrition Enteral nutrition Nutritional support given via the alimentary canal or any route connected to the gastrointestinal system (i.e., the enteral route). This includes oral feeding, sip feeding, and tube feeding using nasogastric, gastrostomy, and jejunostomy tubes. Short Bowel Syndrome if the patient cannot tolerate oral intake: Start within 72 hours.

Treating the etiology

  • Gallstones Gallstones Cholelithiasis (gallstones) is the presence of stones in the gallbladder. Most gallstones are cholesterol stones, while the rest are composed of bilirubin (pigment stones) and other mixed components. Patients are commonly asymptomatic but may present with biliary colic (intermittent pain in the right upper quadrant). Cholelithiasis
    • ERCP ERCP Fiberoptic endoscopy designed for duodenal observation and cannulation of vater’s ampulla, in order to visualize the pancreatic and biliary duct system by retrograde injection of contrast media. Endoscopic (vater) papillotomy may be performed during this procedure. Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis:
    • Cholecystectomy Cholecystectomy Cholecystectomy is a surgical procedure performed with the goal of resecting and extracting the gallbladder. It is one of the most common abdominal surgeries performed in the Western world. Cholecystectomy is performed for symptomatic cholelithiasis, cholecystitis, gallbladder polyps > 0.5 cm, porcelain gallbladder, choledocholithiasis and gallstone pancreatitis, and rarely, for gallbladder cancer. Cholecystectomy:
      • Surgical removal of the gallbladder Gallbladder The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac, located directly beneath the liver, that sits on top of the superior part of the duodenum. The primary functions of the gallbladder include concentrating and storing up to 50 mL of bile. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract: Anatomy
      • Performed after recovery from pancreatitis
  • Hypertriglyceridemia Hypertriglyceridemia A condition of elevated levels of triglycerides in the blood. Lipid Disorders:
    • Goal triglyceride level is < 500 mg/dL.
    • Intravenous (IV) insulin Insulin Insulin is a peptide hormone that is produced by the beta cells of the pancreas. Insulin plays a role in metabolic functions such as glucose uptake, glycolysis, glycogenesis, lipogenesis, and protein synthesis. Exogenous insulin may be needed for individuals with diabetes mellitus, in whom there is a deficiency in endogenous insulin or increased insulin resistance. Insulin:
      • Requires close glucose Glucose A primary source of energy for living organisms. It is naturally occurring and is found in fruits and other parts of plants in its free state. It is used therapeutically in fluid and nutrient replacement. Lactose Intolerance monitoring
      • May need a concurrent dextrose Dextrose Intravenous Fluids infusion to prevent hypoglycemia Hypoglycemia Hypoglycemia is an emergency condition defined as a serum glucose level ≤ 70 mg/dL (≤ 3.9 mmol/L) in diabetic patients. In nondiabetic patients, there is no specific or defined limit for normal serum glucose levels, and hypoglycemia is defined mainly by its clinical features. Hypoglycemia 
    • Apheresis:
      • Should be considered in patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship with SIRS, hypocalcemia Hypocalcemia Hypocalcemia, a serum calcium < 8.5 mg/dL, can result from various conditions. The causes may include hypoparathyroidism, drugs, disorders leading to vitamin D deficiency, and more. Calcium levels are regulated and affected by different elements such as dietary intake, parathyroid hormone (PTH), vitamin D, pH, and albumin. Presentation can range from an asymptomatic (mild deficiency) to a life-threatening condition (acute, significant deficiency). Hypocalcemia, and multi-organ dysfunction Multi-Organ Dysfunction Toxic Shock Syndrome
      • May not be available at all hospitals
  • Alcohol:
    • Patient education
    • Abstinence

Complications

Infected pancreatic necrosis Necrosis The death of cells in an organ or tissue due to disease, injury or failure of the blood supply. Ischemic Cell Damage or abscess Abscess Accumulation of purulent material in tissues, organs, or circumscribed spaces, usually associated with signs of infection. Chronic Granulomatous Disease

  • Consider if patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship continue to have a fever Fever Fever is defined as a measured body temperature of at least 38°C (100.4°F). Fever is caused by circulating endogenous and/or exogenous pyrogens that increase levels of prostaglandin E2 in the hypothalamus. Fever is commonly associated with chills, rigors, sweating, and flushing of the skin. Fever or increasing leukocytosis Leukocytosis A transient increase in the number of leukocytes in a body fluid. West Nile Virus
  • ⅓ of patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship with pancreatic necrosis Necrosis The death of cells in an organ or tissue due to disease, injury or failure of the blood supply. Ischemic Cell Damage will develop infection.
  • Causative organisms: 
    • E. coli
    • Pseudomonas Pseudomonas Pseudomonas is a non-lactose-fermenting, gram-negative bacillus that produces pyocyanin, which gives it a characteristic blue-green color. Pseudomonas is found ubiquitously in the environment, as well as in moist reservoirs, such as hospital sinks and respiratory equipment. Pseudomonas
    • Klebsiella Klebsiella Klebsiella are encapsulated gram-negative, lactose-fermenting bacilli. They form pink colonies on MacConkey agar due to lactose fermentation. The main virulence factor is a polysaccharide capsule. Klebsiella pneumoniae is the most important pathogenic species. Klebsiella
    • Enterococcus Enterococcus Enterococcus is a genus of oval-shaped gram-positive cocci that are arranged in pairs or short chains. Distinguishing factors include optochin resistance and the presence of pyrrolidonyl arylamidase (PYR) and Lancefield D antigen. Enterococcus is part of the normal flora of the human GI tract. Enterococcus
  • Treatment:
    • Antibiotics:
      • Carbapenems Carbapenems A group of beta-lactam antibiotics in which the sulfur atom in the thiazolidine ring of the penicillin molecule is replaced by a carbon atom. Thienamycins are a subgroup of carbapenems which have a sulfur atom as the first constituent of the side chain. Carbapenems and Aztreonam 
      • Fluoroquinolones Fluoroquinolones Fluoroquinolones are a group of broad-spectrum, bactericidal antibiotics inhibiting bacterial DNA replication. Fluoroquinolones cover gram-negative, anaerobic, and atypical organisms, as well as some gram-positive and multidrug-resistant (MDR) organisms. Fluoroquinolones with metronidazole Metronidazole A nitroimidazole used to treat amebiasis; vaginitis; trichomonas infections; giardiasis; anaerobic bacteria; and treponemal infections. Pyogenic Liver Abscess
      • Cefepime Cefepime A fourth-generation cephalosporin antibacterial agent that is used in the treatment of infections, including those of the abdomen, urinary tract, respiratory tract, and skin. It is effective against pseudomonas aeruginosa and may also be used in the empiric treatment of febrile neutropenia. Cephalosporins or ceftazidime Ceftazidime Semisynthetic, broad-spectrum antibacterial derived from cephaloridine and used especially for pseudomonas and other gram-negative infections in debilitated patients. Cephalosporins with metronidazole Metronidazole A nitroimidazole used to treat amebiasis; vaginitis; trichomonas infections; giardiasis; anaerobic bacteria; and treponemal infections. Pyogenic Liver Abscess
    • Image-guided aspiration and drainage
    • Surgical necrosectomy ( debridement Debridement The removal of foreign material and devitalized or contaminated tissue from or adjacent to a traumatic or infected lesion until surrounding healthy tissue is exposed. Stevens-Johnson Syndrome of pancreatic necrosis Necrosis The death of cells in an organ or tissue due to disease, injury or failure of the blood supply. Ischemic Cell Damage) if less-invasive measures are not successful

Pseudocyst

  • An encapsulated Encapsulated Klebsiella collection of fluid with a well-defined inflammatory wall
  • Occurs several weeks after the onset of pancreatitis
  • Most are asymptomatic, but some may have abdominal pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways, early satiety Early Satiety Bariatric Surgery, or jaundice Jaundice Jaundice is the abnormal yellowing of the skin and/or sclera caused by the accumulation of bilirubin. Hyperbilirubinemia is caused by either an increase in bilirubin production or a decrease in the hepatic uptake, conjugation, or excretion of bilirubin. Jaundice.
  • Diagnosis is made with US, CT, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Treatment:
    • Observation:
      • For those with minimal or no symptoms
      • Most will reduce in size or resolve
    • Drainage:
      • For those who are symptomatic or develop infection
      • Requires the wall of the pseudocyst to mature, which may take weeks

Abdominal compartment syndrome Compartment Syndrome Compartment syndrome is a surgical emergency usually occurring secondary to trauma. The condition is marked by increased pressure within a compartment that compromises the circulation and function of the tissues within that space. Compartment Syndrome

  • Sustained intra-abdominal pressure with organ failure
  • Due to significant tissue edema Edema Edema is a condition in which excess serous fluid accumulates in the body cavity or interstitial space of connective tissues. Edema is a symptom observed in several medical conditions. It can be categorized into 2 types, namely, peripheral (in the extremities) and internal (in an organ or body cavity). Edema and fluid resuscitation Resuscitation The restoration to life or consciousness of one apparently dead. . Neonatal Respiratory Distress Syndrome
  • Presentation:
    • Tense, distended, painful abdomen
    • Progressive oliguria Oliguria Decreased urine output that is below the normal range. Oliguria can be defined as urine output of less than or equal to 0. 5 or 1 ml/kg/hr depending on the age. Renal Potassium Regulation
    • Hemodynamic instability
    • Pulmonary decompensation
  • Diagnosis is made by measuring the intra-abdominal pressure.
  • Treatment:
    • Hemodynamic support
    • Pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways control
    • Surgical decompression

Pseudoaneurysm Pseudoaneurysm Not an aneurysm but a well-defined collection of blood and connective tissue outside the wall of a blood vessel or the heart. It is the containment of a ruptured blood vessel or heart, such as sealing a rupture of the left ventricle. False aneurysm is formed by organized thrombus and hematoma in surrounding tissue. Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms

  • Results from the erosion Erosion Partial-thickness loss of the epidermis Generalized and Localized Rashes of the gastroduodenal or splenic artery into a pseudocyst
  • Rare, but life threatening
  • Presents with unexplained gastrointestinal bleeding Gastrointestinal bleeding Gastrointestinal bleeding (GIB) is a symptom of multiple diseases within the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Gastrointestinal bleeding is designated as upper or lower based on the etiology’s location to the ligament of Treitz. Depending on the location of the bleeding, the patient may present with hematemesis (vomiting blood), melena (black, tarry stool), or hematochezia (fresh blood in stools). Gastrointestinal Bleeding and anemia Anemia Anemia is a condition in which individuals have low Hb levels, which can arise from various causes. Anemia is accompanied by a reduced number of RBCs and may manifest with fatigue, shortness of breath, pallor, and weakness. Subtypes are classified by the size of RBCs, chronicity, and etiology. Anemia: Overview and Types
  • Angiography Angiography Radiography of blood vessels after injection of a contrast medium. Cardiac Surgery for diagnosis and embolization Embolization A method of hemostasis utilizing various agents such as gelfoam, silastic, metal, glass, or plastic pellets, autologous clot, fat, and muscle as emboli. It has been used in the treatment of spinal cord and intracranial arteriovenous malformations, renal arteriovenous fistulas, gastrointestinal bleeding, epistaxis, hypersplenism, certain highly vascular tumors, traumatic rupture of blood vessels, and control of operative hemorrhage. Gastrointestinal Bleeding

Splanchnic venous thrombosis Thrombosis Formation and development of a thrombus or blood clot in the blood vessel. Epidemic Typhus

  • Thrombosis Thrombosis Formation and development of a thrombus or blood clot in the blood vessel. Epidemic Typhus of the splenic, portal, or superior mesenteric veins Veins Veins are tubular collections of cells, which transport deoxygenated blood and waste from the capillary beds back to the heart. Veins are classified into 3 types: small veins/venules, medium veins, and large veins. Each type contains 3 primary layers: tunica intima, tunica media, and tunica adventitia. Veins: Histology
  • Splanchnic venous thrombosis Thrombosis Formation and development of a thrombus or blood clot in the blood vessel. Epidemic Typhus is, many times, found incidentally on imaging.
  • Treatment:

Acute respiratory distress syndrome Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome Acute respiratory distress syndrome is characterized by the sudden onset of hypoxemia and bilateral pulmonary edema without cardiac failure. Sepsis is the most common cause of ARDS. The underlying mechanism and histologic correlate is diffuse alveolar damage (DAD). Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) ( ARDS ARDS Acute respiratory distress syndrome is characterized by the sudden onset of hypoxemia and bilateral pulmonary edema without cardiac failure. Sepsis is the most common cause of ARDS. The underlying mechanism and histologic correlate is diffuse alveolar damage (DAD). Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS))

  • Respiratory failure Respiratory failure Respiratory failure is a syndrome that develops when the respiratory system is unable to maintain oxygenation and/or ventilation. Respiratory failure may be acute or chronic and is classified as hypoxemic, hypercapnic, or a combination of the two. Respiratory Failure with widespread alveolar damage and inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body’s defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation of the lungs Lungs Lungs are the main organs of the respiratory system. Lungs are paired viscera located in the thoracic cavity and are composed of spongy tissue. The primary function of the lungs is to oxygenate blood and eliminate CO2. Lungs: Anatomy:
    • Mediated by cytokines Cytokines Non-antibody proteins secreted by inflammatory leukocytes and some non-leukocytic cells, that act as intercellular mediators. They differ from classical hormones in that they are produced by a number of tissue or cell types rather than by specialized glands. They generally act locally in a paracrine or autocrine rather than endocrine manner. Adaptive Immune Response and inflammatory cells
    • Caused by systemic inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body’s defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation from acute pancreatitis
  • Mortality rate Mortality rate Calculated as the ratio of the total number of people who die due to all causes over a specific time period to the total number of people in the selected population. Measures of Health Status of 30%–40%
  • Chest radiograph will show diffuse, bilateral opacities.
  • Treatment:

Differential Diagnosis

  • Acute cholecystitis Cholecystitis Cholecystitis is the inflammation of the gallbladder (GB) usually caused by the obstruction of the cystic duct (acute cholecystitis). Mechanical irritation by gallstones can also produce chronic GB inflammation. Cholecystitis is one of the most common complications of cholelithiasis but inflammation without gallstones can occur in a minority of patients. Cholecystitis: inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body’s defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation of the gallbladder Gallbladder The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac, located directly beneath the liver, that sits on top of the superior part of the duodenum. The primary functions of the gallbladder include concentrating and storing up to 50 mL of bile. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract: Anatomy resulting from sustained gallstone impaction of the cystic Cystic Fibrocystic Change duct. Patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship present with colicky, upper abdominal pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways, nausea Nausea An unpleasant sensation in the stomach usually accompanied by the urge to vomit. Common causes are early pregnancy, sea and motion sickness, emotional stress, intense pain, food poisoning, and various enteroviruses. Antiemetics, and vomiting Vomiting The forcible expulsion of the contents of the stomach through the mouth. Hypokalemia. Inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body’s defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation of the gallbladder Gallbladder The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac, located directly beneath the liver, that sits on top of the superior part of the duodenum. The primary functions of the gallbladder include concentrating and storing up to 50 mL of bile. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract: Anatomy and gallstones Gallstones Cholelithiasis (gallstones) is the presence of stones in the gallbladder. Most gallstones are cholesterol stones, while the rest are composed of bilirubin (pigment stones) and other mixed components. Patients are commonly asymptomatic but may present with biliary colic (intermittent pain in the right upper quadrant). Cholelithiasis are seen on US or CT. Amylase Amylase A group of amylolytic enzymes that cleave starch, glycogen, and related alpha-1, 4-glucans. Digestion and Absorption and lipase Lipase An enzyme of the hydrolase class that catalyzes the reaction of triacylglycerol and water to yield diacylglycerol and a fatty acid anion. It is produced by glands on the tongue and by the pancreas and initiates the digestion of dietary fats. Malabsorption and Maldigestion are usually not elevated, which differentiates acute cholecystitis Cholecystitis Cholecystitis is the inflammation of the gallbladder (GB) usually caused by the obstruction of the cystic duct (acute cholecystitis). Mechanical irritation by gallstones can also produce chronic GB inflammation. Cholecystitis is one of the most common complications of cholelithiasis but inflammation without gallstones can occur in a minority of patients. Cholecystitis from acute pancreatitis. Treatment includes IVF IVF An assisted reproductive technique that includes the direct handling and manipulation of oocytes and sperm to achieve fertilization in vitro. Infertility, antibiotics, and cholecystectomy Cholecystectomy Cholecystectomy is a surgical procedure performed with the goal of resecting and extracting the gallbladder. It is one of the most common abdominal surgeries performed in the Western world. Cholecystectomy is performed for symptomatic cholelithiasis, cholecystitis, gallbladder polyps > 0.5 cm, porcelain gallbladder, choledocholithiasis and gallstone pancreatitis, and rarely, for gallbladder cancer. Cholecystectomy
  • Perforated peptic ulcer Peptic ulcer Peptic ulcer disease (PUD) refers to the full-thickness ulcerations of duodenal or gastric mucosa. The ulcerations form when exposure to acid and digestive enzymes overcomes mucosal defense mechanisms. The most common etiologies include Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection and prolonged use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Peptic Ulcer Disease disease: complete erosion Erosion Partial-thickness loss of the epidermis Generalized and Localized Rashes of an ulcer through the wall of the stomach Stomach The stomach is a muscular sac in the upper left portion of the abdomen that plays a critical role in digestion. The stomach develops from the foregut and connects the esophagus with the duodenum. Structurally, the stomach is C-shaped and forms a greater and lesser curvature and is divided grossly into regions: the cardia, fundus, body, and pylorus. Stomach: Anatomy or duodenum Duodenum The shortest and widest portion of the small intestine adjacent to the pylorus of the stomach. It is named for having the length equal to about the width of 12 fingers. Small Intestine: Anatomy. Patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship present with severe epigastric pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways, tachycardia Tachycardia Abnormally rapid heartbeat, usually with a heart rate above 100 beats per minute for adults. Tachycardia accompanied by disturbance in the cardiac depolarization (cardiac arrhythmia) is called tachyarrhythmia. Sepsis in Children, and abdominal rigidity Abdominal Rigidity Acute Abdomen. Lipase Lipase An enzyme of the hydrolase class that catalyzes the reaction of triacylglycerol and water to yield diacylglycerol and a fatty acid anion. It is produced by glands on the tongue and by the pancreas and initiates the digestion of dietary fats. Malabsorption and Maldigestion and amylase Amylase A group of amylolytic enzymes that cleave starch, glycogen, and related alpha-1, 4-glucans. Digestion and Absorption may be elevated, but not to the degree seen in acute pancreatitis. Diagnosis relies on imaging, which will show extraluminal gas. Patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship require antibiotics and emergency surgery for repair. 
  • Acute mesenteric ischemia Ischemia A hypoperfusion of the blood through an organ or tissue caused by a pathologic constriction or obstruction of its blood vessels, or an absence of blood circulation. Ischemic Cell Damage: tissue injury caused when perfusion fails to meet the demands of the intestines, usually due to an embolism or thrombosis Thrombosis Formation and development of a thrombus or blood clot in the blood vessel. Epidemic Typhus Patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship have periumbilical pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways out of proportion to the exam. Computed tomography with angiography Angiography Radiography of blood vessels after injection of a contrast medium. Cardiac Surgery is used to detect vessel stenosis Stenosis Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS) or occlusion. Lipase Lipase An enzyme of the hydrolase class that catalyzes the reaction of triacylglycerol and water to yield diacylglycerol and a fatty acid anion. It is produced by glands on the tongue and by the pancreas and initiates the digestion of dietary fats. Malabsorption and Maldigestion can be elevated, but not to the degree seen in acute pancreatitis. Acute ischemia Ischemia A hypoperfusion of the blood through an organ or tissue caused by a pathologic constriction or obstruction of its blood vessels, or an absence of blood circulation. Ischemic Cell Damage requires revascularization Revascularization Thromboangiitis Obliterans (Buerger’s Disease) and resection of the infarcted bowel.
  • Pancreatic cancer: a neoplasm of the pancreas Pancreas The pancreas lies mostly posterior to the stomach and extends across the posterior abdominal wall from the duodenum on the right to the spleen on the left. This organ has both exocrine and endocrine tissue. Pancreas: Anatomy. Symptom onset is more insidious, and patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship may have unrelenting epigastric pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways, weight loss Weight loss Decrease in existing body weight. Bariatric Surgery, and jaundice Jaundice Jaundice is the abnormal yellowing of the skin and/or sclera caused by the accumulation of bilirubin. Hyperbilirubinemia is caused by either an increase in bilirubin production or a decrease in the hepatic uptake, conjugation, or excretion of bilirubin. Jaundice. The diagnosis is confirmed with imaging. The history, exam, and imaging will differentiate pancreatic cancer from acute pancreatitis. Treatment is usually aggressive because tumors are usually found late, and includes chemotherapy Chemotherapy Osteosarcoma, radiation Radiation Emission or propagation of acoustic waves (sound), electromagnetic energy waves (such as light; radio waves; gamma rays; or x-rays), or a stream of subatomic particles (such as electrons; neutrons; protons; or alpha particles). Osteosarcoma, and surgery. Prognosis Prognosis A prediction of the probable outcome of a disease based on a individual’s condition and the usual course of the disease as seen in similar situations. Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas for survival is generally poor.

References

  1. Tang, J.C.F., & Markus, J.T. (2019). Acute pancreatitis. In Anand, B.S. (Ed.), Medscape. Retrieved  November 8, 2020, from https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/181364-overview
  2. Vege, S.S. (2019). Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of acute pancreatitis. In Grover, S. (Ed.), UpToDate. Retrieved November 8, 2020, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/clinical-manifestations-and-diagnosis-of-acute-pancreatitis
  3. Vege, S.S. (2019). Etiology of acute pancreatitis. In Grover, S. (Ed.), Uptodate. Retrieved November 9, 2020, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/etiology-of-acute-pancreatitis
  4. Vege, S.S. (2019). Management of acute pancreatitis. In Grover, S. (Ed.), Uptodate. Retrieved November 9, 2020, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/management-of-acute-pancreatitis
  5. Vege, S.S. (2019). Pathogenesis of acute pancreatitis. In Grover, S. (Ed.), Uptodate. Retrieved November 9, 2020, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/pathogenesis-of-acute-pancreatitis
  6. Bartel, M. (2020). Acute pancreatitis. [online] MD Professional Version. https://www.msdmanuals.com/professional/gastrointestinal-disorders/pancreatitis/acute-pancreatitis

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