What is pancreatitis?
it is the inflammation and autodigestion of the pancreas. Autodigestion describes a process whereby pancreatic enzymes destroy its own tissue leading to inflammation. The inflammation may be sudden or ongoing.
What causes pancreatitis?
- gallstones that block the pancreatic duct
- alcohol abuse, which can lead to blockage of the small pancreatic ductules
- abdominal trauma or surgery
- kidney failure
- infections, such as mumps, hepatitis A or B, or salmonella
- cystic fibrosis
- presence of a tumor
- a venomous sting from a scorpion
What are the symptoms of pancreatitis?
- abdominal pain that may radiate to the back or chest
- rapid pulse rare
- swelling in the upper abdomen
- fluid buildup in the abdominal cavity
- dropping blood pressure
- mild jaundice, a yellowing of the skin and eyes
How is pancreatitis diagnosed?
- abdominal x-ray - A diagnostic test which uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film.
- various blood tests
- ultrasound (also called sonography) - A diagnostic imaging technique which uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of the internal organs.
- endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) - A procedure that allows the doctor to diagnose and treat problems in the liver, gallbladder, bile ducts, and pancreas
- computed tomography scan (CT or CAT scan) - A diagnostic imaging procedure using a combination of X-rays and computer technology to produce horizontal, or axial, images (often called slices) of the body.
- electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) - A test that records the electrical activity of the heart, shows abnormal rhythms (arrhythmias or dysrhythmias), and detects heart muscle damage.
- magnetic resonances cholangiopancreatography (MCRP) - A test that produces images of body parts by injecting dye into a patient's veins that helps show the pancreas, gallbladder, and pancreatic and bile ducts.
Treatments for pancreatitis
Specific treatment for pancreatitis will be determined by your doctor based on
- your age, overall health, and medical history
- extent of the disease
- your tolerance of specific medicines, procedures, or therapies
- expectations for the course of the diereses
- your opinion of preference
- hospitalization for observation and intravenous (IV) feeding
- endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
- avoiding alcohol (if the pancreatitis is caused by alcohol abuse)
- pain management
- frequent blood tests (to monitor electrolytes and kidney function)
- no food by mouth for several days
- bed rest or light activity only
- placement of a nasogastric tube (tube inserted into the nose that ends up in the stomach)
- enzyme supplements to aid in food digestion
- insulin (if diabetes develops)
- small high-protein meals
- medications to decrease gastric acid production in the stomach