Acute and chronic pancreatitis
Symposium on Hepatology-III
Pancreatitis is under appreciated during childhood although its diagnosis is simple and management straightforward in most cases. There is a range of possible causes, which is quite different to the situation in adults. The commonest underlying problems are probably structural abnormalities of the pancreatic and biliary ducts such as choledochal malformation, common pancreatobiliary channel and pancreas divisum. Other causes, which can be important in certain groups and geographical areas, are those due to drug reactions, viral infection and parasitic infestation, and blunt abdominal trauma. The diagnosis is established by showing a significantly raised plasma amylase level. Other diagnostic tools such as ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) scanning and endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) have a major role in determining possible underlying causes, and hence selecting out those who require definitive corrective surgery. The pathophysiology of pancreatitis remains to be fully elucidated and, in the acute phase can affect other organs such as the renal and respiratory systems. Later complications include sepsis, pancreatic abscess and typically pseudocyst formation. Most of these can be treated using minimally invasive techniques such as percutaneous aspiration although open surgical techniques such as cystgastrostomy may be required in a few.
Key wordsPanceatitis Choledochal malformation ERCP
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