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Chronic pancreatitis
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Chronic pancreatitis

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Contributors: Michael W. Winter MD, Christine Osborne MD, Khaled Bittar MD, Nishant H. Patel MD, Desiree Rivera-Nieves MD
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Synopsis

Chronic pancreatitis is characterized by chronic, irreversible damage to the pancreas, leading to endocrine and exocrine dysfunction. This loss of pancreatic function often results in a constellation of symptoms, namely epigastric pain with radiation to the back, malabsorption due to pancreatic insufficiency, steatorrhea, and diabetes mellitus.

Chronic pancreatitis can be caused by a variety of medical conditions. Alcohol use disorder, cystic fibrosis, autoimmune pancreatitis (see IgG4-related disease), and chronic biliary ductal obstruction are among the most common etiologies. A juvenile form, tropical chronic pancreatitis (TCP), is a non-alcoholic calcific pancreatitis of uncertain etiology seen in tropical regions of the world that affects children and young adults; TCP can lead to fibrocalculous pancreatic diabetes and pancreatic cancer.

The diagnosis of chronic pancreatitis can be challenging and relies on a combination of symptomatology, histologic, radiographic, and endoscopic findings. There is no single gold standard test to confirm the diagnosis. Some patients present with recurrent episodes of epigastric abdominal pain and pancreatic enzyme elevation, while others can present with asymptomatic diabetes mellitus and be found to have chronic pancreatitis. Regardless of the predisposing medical condition precipitating the development of chronic pancreatitis, radiographically, pancreatic atrophy and calcification with a dilated pancreatic duct are often but not always seen. Histologically, pancreatic fibrosis, duct distortion, and intra-ductal calcification are often but not always appreciated.

Related topics: Acute pancreatitis, Pancreatic panniculitis

Codes

ICD10CM:
K86.1 – Other chronic pancreatitis

SNOMEDCT:
235494005 – Chronic pancreatitis

Look For

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Diagnostic Pearls

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Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

Differential diagnosis of epigastric abdominal pain radiating to the back:

Best Tests

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Management Pearls

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Therapy

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Drug Reaction Data

Below is a list of drugs with literature evidence indicating an adverse association with this diagnosis. The list is continually updated through ongoing research and new medication approvals. Click on Citations to sort by number of citations or click on Medication to sort the medications alphabetically.

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References

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Last Updated: 11/27/2017
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Chronic pancreatitis
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Chronic pancreatitis : Abdominal pain, Nausea, Vomiting, Amylase elevated, Epigastric pain, Lipase elevated, Low back pain, Weight loss, Steatorrhea
Imaging Studies image of Chronic pancreatitis
Axial CT image demonstrates numerous coarse calcifications within the pancreas, consistent with chronic pancreatitis.
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