Acute Pancreatitis

QUESTION: Acute pancreatitis - Will I recover?


Acute pancreatitis is thus named because of the possibility of its sudden onset and the extreme pain which accompanies the episode. Nevertheless, acute pancreatitis is not fatal, indeed full recovery should take place in a matter of days. The primary aim for medical personnel treating a patient suffering from acute pancreatitis is to alleviate the symptoms. Most patients suffering from acute pancreatitis are admitted into the hospital. Classic symptoms accompanying this form of pancreatitis are extreme pain, nausea and vomiting, tender swollen abdomen, rapid heartbeat, and difficulty breathing. The medical personnel will administer fluids through an intravenous line to replace fluids and electrolytes lost through vomiting or the temporary inability to intake food and drink. Solid foods are usually not given for a few days to rest the bowel and give the pancreas time to heal.

Medical personnel may also administer analgesic medication to relieve pain. If the patient is experiencing chills and fever, this may indicate the presence of infection. In these cases, the patient will also receive antibiotics to combat the cause of the infection. If the difficulty in breathing is persistent, the patient will be put on a ventilator. These medical steps will continue over a period of two to three days. As the patient is given time to rest and receive relief from pain, the pancreas will begin to heal and he or she will begin to recover from the symptoms. The onset of acute pancreatitis must be taken seriously and help should be sought immediately but a full recovery should be expected.

A small percentage of patients may develop further complications from the initial attacks of pancreatitis. These complications include diabetes, difficulty breathing and kidney failure. The goal of medical personnel and the patient will be to isolate and eliminate the underlying cause of these acute attacks.

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