Pancreatitis and diagnosis of Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is the inflammation of pancreas which takes place when the pancreatic enzyme secretions accumulate & start to digest the organ itself. This can take place as acute and painful attacks that last for some days or could be a chronic condition which advances over the years.

Pancreatitis mainly affects the adults and is very rare amongst children.

Pancreatitis can be suspected when patients experience the symptoms and has the risk factors like gallstones or a uses alcohol heavily. A number of procedures and tests can be done to identify the functionality of pancreas.

Laboratory tests

Blood test can be done for measuring the digestive enzymes. The elevated levels of amylase & lipase could suggest acute pancreatitis.

Blood test can also be used for testing the glucose levels in the blood of a patient, for determining if the insulin-producing cells of pancreas are working normal or not.

Stool test for measuring levels of elastase which is an enzyme made by pancreas. It helps in digestion of proteins.

Radiology

CT Scan is performed to check for the complications like infection or some fluid near pancreas:

Abdominal ultrasound for checking gallstones

Magnetic Resonance Cholangiopancreatography or a kind of MRI which used for visualizing the bile ducts & pancreatic duct.

Diagnostic procedures:

ERCP or Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography : It is placement of a tube right down the throat, till the stomach & in the small intestine. Using contrast X-ray & dye, ERCP allows the visualization of pancreatic & bile ducts.  Gallstones could be removed off during ERCP if they block our bile duct.

Endoscopic ultrasound- It is the placement of a light scope right down the throat & into stomach for visualizing pancreas & abdominal organs. An endoscopic ultrasound reveals any gallstones & could assist in the diagnosis of severe pancreatitis (While the invasive test like ERCP could worsen the condition). A biopsy or removal of small part of tissue, can be done during an endoscopic ultrasound.