Acute Pancreatitis is an acute inflammatory process of the pancreas with variable involvement of other regional tissues or remote organ systems. Patients present with sudden onset severe upper abdominal pain, radiating to the back associated with nausea and/or vomiting. Gallstones and chronic alcohol abuse account for 70% of acute pancreatitis. Various other conditions that predispose to Acute Pancreatitis are Tumors, Parasites, Duodenal diverticula, annular pancreas, Choledochocele, Scorpion venom, Organophosphorous insecticides, Drugs, Hypertriglyceridemia, Hypercalcemia, Infectious, Trauma, Post-endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), Hereditary/familial/genetic.
Severity of Acute Pancreatitis can be mild, moderate and severe. Acute pancreatitis have two distinct stages. The first stage is related to the pathophysiology of the inflammatory cascade which lasts for a week. Approximately 75% to 80%, of patients with acute pancreatitis have a resolution of the disease process and do not enter the second phase. In 25% of patients, a more protracted course develops, often related to the necrotizing process (necrotizing pancreatitis) lasting weeks to months.
The mortality peak in the second phase is related to a combination of factors, including organ failure secondary to sterile necrosis, infected necrosis, or Complications from surgical intervention. After the second week of illness, patients succumb to pancreatic infection associated with multiorgan failure. In those who survive their illness, severe pancreatic necrosis can scar the pancreas, resulting in a stricture of the main pancreatic duct with subsequent obstructive chronic pancreatitis and permanent diabetes and malabsorption. Early diagnosis and timely intervention can prevent complications and reduce mortality and morbidity caused by Acute Pancreatitis.
Diagnosing the cause of Acute Pancreatitis and its treatment helps in preventing further episodes of Acute Pancreatitis.