Atypical Presentation of Acute Pancreatitis in a Man with Pancreatic Insufficiency and Cystic Fibrosis: A Case Report

Malcolm Turner; Hugh Jackson; Robin Harle; Rob Bohmer; David W Reid


J Med Case Reports. 2010;4(298) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Introduction: Whether acute pancreatitis can occur in pancreatically insufficient individuals with cystic fibrosis remains a matter of debate.
Case presentation: We describe a case of acute pancreatitis occurring in a 52-year-old Caucasian Australian man with moderately severe cystic fibrosis lung disease and pancreatic insufficiency. An inflammatory mass within the head of his pancreas was confirmed using computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging and pancreatic biopsy, but serum amylase and lipase remained normal throughout the acute phase of his illness. His symptoms and the pancreatic mass resolved following the insertion of a biliary stent and the introduction of ursodeoxycholic acid.
Conclusion: Our case report highlights the potential for acute pancreatitis to occur in patients with pancreatic insufficiency and cystic fibrosis. We further demonstrate that conventional biochemical markers that are normally assessed to confirm the diagnosis may not be of particular use. As patients with cystic fibrosis survive into their fourth and fifth decades of life, atypical presentations of acute pancreatitis may become more common.


Acute pancreatitis in cystic fibrosis occurs almost exclusively in young patients with pancreatic sufficiency.[1] We describe the case of a 53-year-old man with cystic fibrosis and pancreatic insufficiency who presented with abdominal pain and a diagnosis of acute pancreatitis despite normal amylase and lipase levels in his peripheral blood.


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