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Clinical investigations from the RACP

Investigating acute pancreatitis

Sean P Griffin, Paul S Haber

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Abstract

The hallmark of acute pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas, typically manifesting with severe upper abdominal pain.

Key Points

  • In Australia, the most common causes of acute pancreatitis are gallstones and alcohol.
  • The key initial investigations are a serum amylase level, a full blood count and liver function tests.
  • The dynamic contrast-enhanced abdominal CT is the investigation of choice for local complications.
  • All patients with confirmed acute pancreatitis should be referred (and admitted) to hospital without delay.

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