Gut Instincts: A Clinician's Handbook of Digestive and Liver Diseases

Eric Esrailian, MD, MPH

Chapter 12: Pancreatic Diseases (continued)

James Farrell, MD

The diagnosis of acute pancreatitis is based on a combination of both clinical (severe epigastric pain radiating to the back, relieved by sitting forward) and laboratory tests (elevated amylase and lipase [more specific] blood levels). The absolute value of the amylase and lipase blood level is not predictive of the severity or natural history of an attack of acute pancreatitis. Initial abdominal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scan imaging is not necessary unless there is some doubt about the initial diagnosis. An abdominal ultrasound is more useful to identify…