Chronic pancreatitis - The Lancet review

There are two forms of chronic pancreatitis

Chronic pancreatitis is a progressive fibroinflammatory disease that exists in 2 forms:

- large-duct forms (often with intraductal calculi)
- small-duct form

Causes of chronic pancreatitis

Chronic pancreatitis results from a complex mix of:

- environmental factors - alcohol, cigarettes, and occupational chemicals
- genetic factors - mutation in a trypsin-controlling gene or the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR)
- a few patients have hereditary or autoimmune disease

Management of pain

Pain is the main symptom that occurs in two forms:

- recurrent attacks of pancreatitis (representing paralysis of apical exocytosis in acinar cells)
- constant and disabling pain

Management of the pain is mainly empirical, involving:

- potent analgesics
- duct drainage by endoscopic or surgical means
- partial or total pancreatectomy
- steroids rapidly reduce symptoms in patients with autoimmune pancreatitis
- micronutrient therapy to correct electrophilic stress is emerging as a promising treatment

Steatorrhoea, diabetes, local complications, and psychosocial issues associated are additional therapeutic challenges.


Chronic pancreatitis. Dr Joan M Braganza DSc a , Stephen H Lee FRCR b, Rory F McCloy FRCS c, Prof Michael J McMahon FRCS d. The Lancet, Volume 377, Issue 9772, Pages 1184 - 1197, 2 April 2011.
Pancreatitis - JAMA Patient Page, 2012.
Image source: Wikipedia, public domain.

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