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Digestive Disorders / Gastroenterology Forum
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Re: Pancreatitis

Posted By emom on November 17, 1998 at 23:41:12:

In Reply to: Re: Pancreatitis posted by HFHSM.D.-ym on November 17, 1998 at 13:15:43:






My father died at the age of thirty from severe pancretitis in 1966,
I was told after being in terrible pain he vomited up green and then brought to the hospital.  They performed exploratory surgery and 11 hrs later he was dead. I know this was 1966 and that the technology is exponentionally better now but can drinking create this type of illness?  I was told he did drink heavily . As his offspring can I be at risk for this disease(being hereditary)?  I don't have any symptoms just curious. (I do not drink either)Also what do they do today if they have a pt. with such advanced symptoms?  Your words might shed a little light on something my mom talks little of.
Dear emom,
The most common causes of acute pancreatitis in the United States are alcoholic pancreatitis and gallstone pancreatitis. Many patients with so-called idiopathic (unknown cause) pancreatitis end up having microlithiasis (small stones or crystals in the biliary tree). There are many other causes of acute pancreatitis but they are less common.. I will list them for you.
After surgery or trauma
After ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography)
Infections (viral, Mycoplasma)
Metabolic disorders (elevated triglycerides, elevated calcium, pregnancy)
Vasculitis (with Connective Tissue Disorders such as lupus)
Drugs (a long list of medications can cause pancreatitis)
Pancreas Divisum and other anatomic abnormalities
Hereditary Pancreatitis
Penetrating Peptic Ulcer
Other infections: Ascariasis, scorpion bite,
Kidney failure, Kidney Transplant
Patients with Crohns disease
In the majority of patients with acute pancreatitis, the disease is self-limited and resolves spontaneously. Patients are usually medically treated with supportive care with special attention given to analgesis, maintenance of normal plasma volume (fluids to prevent dehydration), frequent monitoring of vital signs, and identifying and treating possible disease complications. No drugs have been shown to improve the course of acute pancreatitis. Most physicians will prescribe bowel rest (nothing by mouth) and if the patient is vomiting the placement of a nasogastric tube. Diet is slowly advanced as tolerated. It may be necessary to perform serial CT scans or ultrasounds to rule out pancreatic pseudocysts (fluid collection) that develop in or near the pancreas within 4 weeks after an acute episode. Surgery is reserved for patients with the complications of acute pancreatitis such as large, symptomatic pseudocysts, infected fluid collections or pancreatic abscesses. Perforation and hemorrhage (bleeding) are also indications for surgery. Unless an anatomic abnormality needs to be corrected, there is no surgical procedure that can prevent an attack of acute pancreatitis. The best way to prevent recurrent attacks is to identify the underlying cause.
It sounds like your father had alcoholic pancreatitis with complications. If you do not drink you should not be predisposed to this problem. On the other hand, it would be impossible to predict whether or not you would get pancreatitis from another cause. Hereditary pancreatitis is a rare form of pancreatitis that is characterized by recurrent episodes at a young age. It is associated with a particular genetic defect. I hope you find this information helpful.
This response is being provided for general informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or consultation. Always check with your personal physician when you have a question pertaining to your health.
If you wish to be seen at our institution please call 1-800-653-6568, our Referring Physicians Office and make an appointment to see Dr. Muszkat, one of our experts in Gastroenterology.
HFHSM.D.-ym
*Keywords: acute pancreatitis

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