Chronic Pancreatitis - Symptoms, Diagnosis, Therapy

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Chronic Pancreatitis - Symptoms, Diagnosis, Therapy
Chronic Pancreatitis - Symptoms, Diagnosis, Therapy
Video: Chronic Pancreatitis - Symptoms, Diagnosis, Therapy
Video: Chronic pancreatitis - causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, pathology 2023, February

Chronic pancreatitis

The most common cause of chronic pancreatitis is long-term high alcohol consumption. The second most common cause is gallstones. Smoking, congenital malformations and genetic and autoimmune causes are also responsible for the disease. In some cases, the pancreas is gradually destroyed for unexplained causes. Typical symptoms are upper abdominal pain and digestive disorders. Therapy ranges from eliminating the causes to replacing missing digestive enzymes.


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  • What are the symptoms of chronic pancreatitis?
  • ">How is the diagnosis made?


  • How is chronic pancreatitis treated?
  • Whom can I ask?
  • How are the costs going to be covered?


What are the symptoms of chronic pancreatitis?

Typical is a recurring, rarely persistent upper abdominal pain that can radiate to the back. The pain often occurs during or after eating. This is accompanied by impaired digestion (maldigestion) with nausea, a feeling of fullness and flatulence. In advanced cases, the following symptoms in particular can occur as a result of insufficient pancreatic function:

  • Weight loss,
  • sometimes very light, foul-smelling, voluminous stool (so-called fatty stool),
  • Diabetes mellitus,
  • Jaundice.

Possible complications

  • Pseudocysts: Here, vesicles filled with secretions form in or on the pancreas, which cause mild symptoms such as stomach pain, but can also go unnoticed. In many cases, they resolve on their own. Sometimes an infection or bleeding can occur.
  • Narrowing of the duodenum or bile duct.
  • Splenic vein thrombosis with enlargement of the spleen.
  • Pancreatic cancer seems to be slightly more common in people with chronic pancreatitis.

How is the diagnosis made?

The anamnesis is followed by a physical examination by the doctor as well as pancreatic function tests (e.g. elastase-1 concentration, fluorescein dilaurate test, secretin-pancreozymin test) and stool examinations. If necessary, imaging procedures such as endoscopic examination of the bile and pancreatic ducts (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, ERCP), x-rays of the bile ducts (cholangiogram), ultrasound, magnetic resonance tomography, computed tomography and endosonography are used.

How is chronic pancreatitis treated?

The following measures are used to treat chronic inflammation of the pancreas:

  • Painkiller,
  • Replacement of digestive enzymes with every meal (balanced mixed diet),
  • Insulin in diabetes mellitus,
  • Removal of obstructions to the drainage caused by bile duct stones or constrictions (stenoses),
  • Endoscopic or surgical drainage of pseudocysts,
  • In the event of complications or persistent pain, parts of the pancreas can be removed or additional drains can be created for the pancreatic secretion into the intestine.

    It is important to abstain from alcohol for life and avoid drugs that are toxic to the pancreas (e.g. diuretics, steroid hormones, etc.).

Whom can I ask?

To clarify pancreatic complaints, the first point of contact should be a general practitioner. A visit to the following doctors may be necessary for further clarification and therapy:

  • Specialist in internal medicine (gastroenterology and hepatology),
  • Specialist in surgery.

How are the costs going to be covered?

All necessary and appropriate therapies are covered by the health insurance carriers. Your doctor or the outpatient clinic will generally settle accounts directly with your health insurance provider. However, you may have to pay a deductible with certain health insurance providers (BVAEB, SVS, SVS, BVAEB).

However, you can also use a doctor of your choice (ie doctor without a health insurance contract) or a private outpatient clinic. For more information, see Costs and Deductibles.

When hospitalization is required

Sometimes hospitalization is required if the pancreas is inflamed. Here, the hospital costs are billed. The patient has to pay a daily contribution to the costs.

For more information, see What does a hospital stay cost?

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