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What is acute pancreatitis?

Written By northidahodpc

What is acute pancreatitis?

January 13, 2012

Acute (sudden) pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas, an organ located near the liver that produces both digestive enzymes and insulin.  It is most commonly caused by alcohol use, but also can be precipitated by high blood fats (triglycerides), gallstones, smoking and by certain prescriptions such as diuretic blood pressure medications, birth control pills and atypical antidepressants.  Pain is usually severe, located in the mid abdomen and radiating to the back.  Nausea, vomiting, rapid pulse and low blood pressure are other common findings, and a severe attack can be fatal.  Blood tests and imaging studies such as a CT scan are frequently employed to confirm the diagnosis, and hospitalization is often indicated.  Treatment consists of avoiding food and/or liquids for a few days, which allows the bowel to rest, and providing IV fluids to support blood pressure and maintain kidney function.   Pain medication is initially given IV if the patient is hospitalized, and then switched to oral when he/she is able to hold down food and fluids…..Richard R Samuel, MD     Family Practice and Urgent Care   Hayden, ID  USA

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