Pancreatitis

Last updated: Friday, 24, December, 2010
Key InformationAppropriate Tests

Acute pancreatitis 

Lipase and/or amylase - plasma or serum.

Serum amylase is less sensitive and is only transiently increased.

High levels of lipase and amylase can occur in other causes of an 'acute abdomen'.

Amylase - urine occasionally useful if clinical suspicion is high and levels of serum lipase and amylase are normal.

Causes

Alcoholism

Biliary disease 

See Cholestasis

Hypertriglyceridaemia 

See under Hyperlipidaemia

Mumps

Serological investigation is of no clinical value.

Drug reactions

  • Sulphonamides
  • Thiazide diuretics
  • Azathioprine

Trauma

Shock

Hypercalcaemia

Complications

Pancreatic Abscess 

Repeat serum lipase or amylase if a local pancreatic complication is suspected.

Blood culture if patient is febrile.

Pus - microscopy and culture from operative site if surgical intervention (eg, drainage) is required.

Pancreatic pseudocyst

Chronic pancreatitis 

See Malabsorption and Diabetes mellitus