New Insights into the Pathophysiology and Severity Assessment of Acute Pancreatitis

  • D. J. van Westerloo
  • M. J. Bruno
  • T. van der Poll


Acute pancreatitis is an acute sterile inflammation of the pancreas. The diagnosis is made on the basis of a distinct clinical syndrome consisting of acute onset abdominal pain radiating to the back and frequently accompanied by nausea and/or vomiting, combined with a more than threefold increase of serum amylase or lipase above the upper limit of normal. In the western world the most common causes of acute pancreatitis are alcohol abuse and gallstones [1]. The disease is characterized by the premature activation of digestive enzymes in the pancreas, followed by a massive immunological response resulting in autodigestion of the gland, local, and subsequent systemic inflammation. The incidence of the disease varies between 5–20 per 100 000 persons per year, with 10–20% of patients developing severe pancreatitis of whom up to 30% may die as a result of the development of secondary complications such as pancreatitis-associated lung injury, infectious complications or multiple organ failure (MOF) [1]. This chapter will focus on recent developments in the understanding of the pathophysiology and immunopathology of acute pancreatitis and its complications and discuss the importance of early severity prediction including the merits of various prognostic markers.


Acute Pancreatitis Chronic Pancreatitis Severe Acute Pancreatitis Pancreatic Necrosis Pancreatitis Severity 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. J. van Westerloo
  • M. J. Bruno
  • T. van der Poll

There are no affiliations available

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