Severe acute pancreatitis: clinical findings and therapeutic tools in Internal Medicine practice
AbstractBACKGROUND Recent advances in pathophysiology and therapeutic measures suggest that patients suffering from acute pancreatitis (AP) should undergo an early evaluation and treatment in Internal Medicine wards. Severe AP, usually associated with pancreatic necrosis and peripancreatic fluid collections, may be frequently complicated by distant organ(s) involvement.
RESULTS The dreadful multi-organ failure may occur as an early event (during the first week of the disease) or in association with the infection of pancreatic necrosis in a later stage. So, during the clinical outcome, physicians may be compelled to counteract cardio-circulatory, pulmonary, renal, hepatic, haematological and hydro-electrolytic complex derangements. Arterial hypotension and shock may be consequence of hypovolemia and/or hearth failure or septic shock syndrome. Pleural effusions are frequent in the early phase of the disease as well as pulmonary densifications and renal insufficiency. Urinary, pulmonary, and biliary infections may intervene during all phases of the disease whereas pancreatic necrosis and fluid collections infections are more frequent after the second week of hospitalization. Prognostic evaluation should be obtained by simple and precise scoring system such as the modified Marshall score and CT-scan severity index.
CONCLUSIONS Treatment must be initiated as soon as possible with special focusing on fluid and nutritional supplementation, pain control, cardio-respiratory support, antiproteases and antibiotics. Invasive procedures such as endoscopic sphincterotomy in biliary AP with cholangitis and/or obstruction and percutaneous drainage should be utilized in specific cases. Surgical necrosectomy is mandatory in patients with documented infection of pancreatic necrosis.
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