Acute Pancreatitis

Acute Pancreatitis is a topic covered in the Washington Manual of Medical Therapeutics.

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General Principles


Acute pancreatitis consists of inflammation of the pancreas and peripancreatic tissue from activation of potent pancreatic enzymes within the pancreas, particularly trypsin.


The most common causes are alcohol and gallstone disease, accounting for 75%–80% of all cases. Less common causes include abdominal trauma, hypercalcemia, hypertriglyceridemia, and a variety of drugs. Post-endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) pancreatitis occurs in 5%–10% of patients undergoing ERCP; prophylaxis with rectal NSAIDs or topical epinephrine and placement of prophylactic pancreatic duct stents can help prevent post-ERCP pancreatitis.1

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