Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas caused by its own enzymes (self-digestion).
Acute pancreatitis occurs as a result of an increase in pressure in the pancreatic duct system and the reverse reflux of enzymes into the gland. The causes leading to an increase in intraductal pressure may be stones in the bile ducts that compress the pancreatic duct or block its mouth. In men, alcohol abuse is a common cause of acute pancreatitis.
As a result of an increase in pressure in the ducts of the pancreas, the enzymes that it produces enter the tissue of the pancreas itself and begin to destroy it. This is an emergency condition requiring immediate hospitalization.
In severe forms of acute pancreatitis – pancreatic necrosis, necrosis (necrosis) of a significant amount of pancreatic tissue occurs. With all this, the necrotic process can also extend to the fatty tissue surrounding the pancreas and other organs located in the retroperitoneal space. If activated pancreatic enzymes enter the abdominal cavity, they cause aseptic pancreatogenic peritonitis. If timely intensive treatment is not carried out, the death of the sick person begins.
Pancreatitis manifests itself:
- severe pain in the upper abdomen (epigastric region, right or left hypochondrium); often the pain is excruciating in nature. In severe cases, the pain spreads throughout the abdomen;
- there is severe vomiting that does not bring relief; in the later period from the onset of the disease – bloating, non-excretion of gases, stool retention;
- severe poisoning of the body develops, manifested by the appearance of jaundice, confusion, acute renal failure.
Symptoms of acute pancreatitis are usually quite well expressed, so the diagnosis is not difficult. However, in order to determine the form of acute pancreatitis and, in accordance with this, to choose the necessary treatment tactics, it is often necessary to perform laparoscopy – an examination from the inside of the abdominal cavity with a special instrument. If it is assumed that the cause of pancreatitis was a bile duct stone, a special endoscopic and x-ray examination is urgently performed – retrograde cholangiopancreatography.
Treatment of patients with acute pancreatitis should be carried out only in the conditions of the surgical, and often in the intensive care unit. The therapy consists in the massive introduction of a variety of medicinal products into a vein. Obligatory therapeutic measure is hunger. At the beginning of the disease, surgical treatment is not required. However, if purulent complications of acute pancreatitis appear, surgical intervention is indicated, which, if necessary, can be repeated more than once.