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All about pancreatitis causes of pancreatitis symptoms of pancreatitis risk factors for pancreatitis complications of pancreatitis acute pancreatitis causes of acute pancreatitis symptoms of acute pancreatitis diagnosis of acute pancreatitis treatment for acute pancreatitis chronic pancreatitis causes of chronic pancreatitis symptoms of chronic pancreatitis diagnosis of chronic pancreatitis treatment for chronic pancreatitis prevention of pancreatitis

What are the complications of pancreatitis?

Complications of pancreatitis can be conceptualized as occurring in two domains one as local and one as systemic complications. Local complications of acute pancreatitis include necrosis, pseudocyst (fluid collection), abscess, ileus, fistulazation, GI hemorrhage, phlegmon and pseudoaneurysm. Distant or systemic complications include shock, respiratory failure, metabolic derangements such as hypocalcemia, hyperglycaemia, coagulopathy and disseminated intravascular

coagulation. Some of the complications from pancreatitis are: low blood pressure, heart failure, kidney failure, ARDS (adult respiratory distress syndrome), diabetes, ascites, accumulation of fluid in the abdomen, and cysts or abscesses in the pancreas.

In mild acute pancreatitis there are few complications, although it is fatal in a minority of cases (<5% patients). Severe acute pancreatitis is fatal in 10-15% of cases, and 70% in those who develop infected pancreatic necrosis! Complications of severe acute pancreatitis are either generalised (e.g. lung or kidney failure, circulatory collapse) or localised (e.g. pancreatic necrosis, development of cysts within the pancreas, development of fistulas - abnormal communications between the pancreas and the skin or other organs). These complications require treatment by surgery or endoscopy (i.e. from within the digestive tract).

Severe cases of acute pancreatitis may lead to a number of complications. A damaged pancreas may become infected with bacteria that spread from the small intestine into the pancreas. Signs of infection include fever, an elevated white blood cell count and organ failure. A fluid sample from the pancreas may be tested for bacterial infection. If the tests are positive, you'll receive antibiotics. Some people also need surgery to drain or remove infected areas of the pancreas. Sometimes multiple operations are necessary. Cyst-like blisters called pseudocysts may form on and extend from the pancreas after an attack of acute pancreatitis. If the cyst is small, no special treatment is necessary. If it's large, becomes infected or causes bleeding, you'll need treatment. The doctor may drain the cyst through a catheter, or you may need surgery to drain or remove the cyst. Abscess is a collection of pus in or near the pancreas that can develop 4 to 6 weeks after the onset of acute pancreatitis. Treatment involves drainage of the abscess by catheter or surgery.

The main general complications of chronic pancreatitis are diabetes mellitus and fat malabsorption. Other localised complications include pancreatic cyst formation, narrowing of the duct that drains the gallbladder (resulting in jaundice), obstruction of the upper small intestine (rarely), or bleeding within the stomach and intestine. These complications generally require surgical or endoscopic treatment.

More information on pancreatitis

What is pancreatitis? - Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas that may occur as an acute, painful attack. Pancreatitis, an occasional side effect of ddI, can result in severe abdominal pain and death.
What causes pancreatitis? - Heavy alcohol use over many years is a leading cause of chronic pancreatitis. A leading cause of acute pancreatitis is gallstones.
What are the symptoms of pancreatitis? - Pancreatitis symptoms are characterized by severe pain in the middle of the abdomen that occurs secondary to inflammation of the pancreas.
What are the risk factors for pancreatitis? - Gallstones (lumps of solid material found in the gallbladder) and alcohol abuse (in 80 percent of all cases) are major risk fators forpancreatitis.
What are the complications of pancreatitis? - Complications of pancreatitis can be conceptualized as occurring in two domains one as local and one as systemic complications.
What is acute pancreatitis? - Acute pancreatitis is an inflammation (irritation and swelling with presence of extra immune cells) of the pancreas.
What causes acute pancreatitis? - Gallstones and excessive alcohol usage are the most common causes for injury to the pancreas and account for more than 85% of all patients that develop pancreatitis.
What are the symptoms of acute pancreatitis? - Acute pancreatitis generally starts with a pain in the upper abdomen. Other symptoms include diarrhea, bloating and fever.
How is acute pancreatitis diagnosed? - The diagnosis of acute pancreatitis can be challenging because the signs and symptoms of other medical conditions can mimic those of pancreatitis.
What is the treatment for acute pancreatitis? - The goals of treatment of acute pancreatitis are to alleviate pancreatic inflammation and to correct the underlying cause.
What is chronic pancreatitis? - Chronic pancreatitis is a condition associated with widespread scarring and destruction of pancreatic tissue.
What causes chronic pancreatitis? - The most common cause of chronic pancreatitis is long-term excessive alcohol consumption. Other causes include high levels of calcium in the blood, abnormalities in anatomy.
What are the symptoms of chronic pancreatitis? - Some people with chronic pancreatitis have no pain. Patients with this disease often lose weight, even when their appetite and eating habits are normal.
How is chronic pancreatitis diagnosed? - Diagnosing chronic pancreatitis in its early stages is often difficult. Diagnosis may be aided by a number of new techniques.
What is the treatment for chronic pancreatitis? - The doctor treats chronic pancreatitis by relieving pain and managing the nutritional and metabolic problems.
How to prevent pancreatitis? - Pancreatitis caused by gallstones can not be absolutely prevented. A healthy weight with a balanced diet and regular exercise can redce the risk of forming gallstones. 
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All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005,, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005