How does chronic pancreatitis differ from acute pancreatitis?

Updated: Jul 15, 2019
  • Author: Jason L Huffman, MD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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By definition, chronic pancreatitis is a completely different process from acute pancreatitis. [5] In acute pancreatitis, the patient presents with acute and severe abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. The pancreas is acutely inflamed (neutrophils and edema), and the serum levels of the pancreatic enzymes (amylase and lipase) are elevated. Full recovery is observed in most patients with acute pancreatitis, whereas in chronic pancreatitis, the primary process is a chronic, irreversible inflammation (monocyte and lymphocyte) that leads to fibrosis with calcification. (See Pathophysiology, Etiology, Presentation, and Workup.)

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