To my knowledge there is no gold standard test to diagnose chronic pancreatitis. In fact, diagnosing chronic pancreatitis is challenging because testing may yield normal results, even when the disease is present. So doctors typically rely on a battery of tests to come up with the final result.
The Gold Standard test you are referring to is ERCP. I know, I've had it. Doctors though are very wary to give this test to just anyone due to the fact that it can actually CAUSE Pancreatitis. I was already diagnosed prior to my ERCP and went on to have surgery. Amylase & Lypase blood tests will also tell if your mother has elevated levels from Pancreatits. Best of luck. I survived it & I'm sure your mom can too ;)
Lea ann is correct that ERCP can show signs of panreatitis. It can trigger an attack of pancreatitis but is usually short lived. My mom has battled chronic pancreatitis (idopathic, non drinker) for over 4 years and is 30 days post whipple. Amylase and Lypase do not always show elevated levels even if having an attack. Get a good GI, one who specializes in diseases of the pancreas... not just a general GI. ERCP can show a lot, stents can be placed in ducts during procedure which can ease pain. Celiac blocks can also be done and can be helpful for pain. Good luck to you...MAKE SURE YOU GET A GOOD GI BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING!!!
I had EUS to diagnose the chronic pancreatitis after they saw a hint of it with ERCP. They say I have "mild" chronic pancreatitis, but the pain is sometimes unbearable. I'm wondering why your mom had to have a whipple procedure. I've heard of it but do not know what it is. Also, does your mom have any type of gastroparesis with this? Does she take enzymes, etc. I just returned from Mayo but they didn't give me much info. other than I suffer from IBS as well. I think there are a lot of people out there who suffer with chronic pancreatitis but don't know it because the enzymes do not show up. I look forward to hearing from you.