Management of Acute Pancreatitis

Scott Tenner, MD, MPH, FACG1, John Baillie, MB, ChB, FRCP, FACG2, John DeWitt, MD, FACG3 and Santhi Swaroop Vege, MD, FACG4

1State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, New York, USA
2Carteret MedicalGroup, Morehead City, North Carolina, USA
3Indiana University Medical Center, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
4Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA

Am J Gastroenterol 2013; 108:1400–1415; doi:10.1038/ajg.2013.218; published online 30 July 2013
Received 23 December 2012; Accepted 18 June 2013
Advance online publication 30 July 2013

Correspondence: Santhi Swaroop Vege, MD, FACG, Division of Gastroenterology, Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, Minnesota 55905, USA. E-mail: vege.santhi@mayo.edu

Abstract

This guideline presents recommendations for the management of patients with acute pancreatitis (AP). During the past decade, there have been new understandings and developments in the diagnosis, etiology, and early and late management of the disease. As the diagnosis of AP is most often established by clinical symptoms and laboratory testing, contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CECT) and/or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the pancreas should be reserved for patients in whom the diagnosis is unclear or who fail to improve clinically. Hemodynamic status should be assessed immediately upon presentation and resuscitative measures begun as needed. Patients with organ failure and/or the systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) should be admitted to an intensive care unit or intermediary care setting whenever possible. Aggressive hydration should be provided to all patients, unless cardiovascular and/or renal comorbidites preclude it. Early aggressive intravenous hydration is most beneficial within the first 12–24 h, and may have little benefit beyond. Patients with AP and concurrent acute cholangitis should undergo endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) within 24 h of admission. Pancreatic duct stents and/or postprocedure rectal nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) suppositories should be utilized to lower the risk of severe post-ERCP pancreatitis in high-risk patients. Routine use of prophylactic antibiotics in patients with severe AP and/or sterile necrosis is not recommended. In patients with infected necrosis, antibiotics known to penetrate pancreatic necrosis may be useful in delaying intervention, thus decreasing morbidity and mortality. In mild AP, oral feedings can be started immediately if there is no nausea and vomiting. In severe AP, enteral nutrition is recommended to prevent infectious complications, whereas parenteral nutrition should be avoided. Asymptomatic pancreatic and/or extrapancreatic necrosis and/or pseudocysts do not warrant intervention regardless of size, location, and/or extension. In stable patients with infected necrosis, surgical, radiologic, and/or endoscopic drainage should be delayed, preferably for 4 weeks, to allow the development of a wall around the necrosis.

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