CardioVascular and Interventional Radiology

, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 208–225 | Cite as

Acute Pancreatitis: The Role of Imaging and Interventional Radiology

  • Michael M. Maher
  • Brian C. Lucey
  • Debra A. Gervais
  • Peter R. MuellerEmail author


Acute pancreatitis can manifest as a benign condition with minimal abdominal pain and hyperamylasemia or can have a fulminant course, which can be life-threatening usually due to the development of infected pancreatic necrosis, and multisystem organ failure [1, 2]. Fortunately, 70–80% of patients with acute pancreatitis have a benign self-limiting course (Figs. 1, 2, 4). The initial 24-48 hours after the initial diagnosis is usually the period that determines the subsequent course, and for many of the 20–30% of patients who subsequently have a fulminant course, this becomes apparent within this time frame. With reference to long-term outcome following acute pancreatitis, most cases recover without long-term sequelae with only a minority of cases progressing to chronic pancreatitis [5]. In the initial management of acute pancreatitis, assessment of metabolic disturbances and systemic organ dysfunction is critical. However, the advent and continued refinement of cross-sectional imaging modalities over the past two decades has led to a prominent role for diagnostic imaging in assessing acute pancreatitis. Furthermore, these cross-sectional imaging modalities have enabled the development of diagnostic and therapeutic interventional techniques in the hands of radiologists. In this article we review the diagnostic features of acute pancreatitis, the clinical staging systems, complications and the role of imaging. The role of interventional radiology techniques in the management of acute pancreatitis will be discussed as well as potential complications associated with these treatments.


Acute pancreatitis Imaging Computed tomography Magnetic resonance imaging Interventional radiology 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael M. Maher
    • 1
  • Brian C. Lucey
    • 1
  • Debra A. Gervais
    • 1
  • Peter R. Mueller
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Division of Abdominal Imaging and Interventional RadiologyMassachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA and Harvard Medical School Boston, MAUSA

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