Chronic pancreatitis is an inflammatory disease that causes irreversible anatomical changes including infiltration of inflammatory cells, fibrosis and pancreatic calcification with destruction of the structure of the gland, leading to abdominal pain, endocrine and exocrine dysfunction. Pancreatic exocrine insufficiency (PEI) prevalence in chronic pancreatitis varies between 40 and 94%. PEI is diagnosed by direct and indirect tests. Nutritional status is assessed by anthropometric indicators; laboratory tests—hemoglobin, plasma proteins (albumin, prealbumin, retinol-binding protein, transferrin), fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K; micronutrients. Pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy (PERT) is a fundamental part of PEI treatment. An optimal PERT could prevent serious PEI complications such as metabolic bone disease, adverse cardiovascular events, cachexia, poor quality of life and mortality. A periodic screening for PEI complications with a respect to their primary and secondary prophylaxis is mandatory. Diabetes mellitus secondary to pancreatic disease is defined as pancreatogenic diabetes or type 3c diabetes mellitus. Patients with chronic pancreatitis are at increased risk for pancreatic cancer influenced by smoking, alcohol abuse, chronic inflammation and pancreatic stellate cells over-proliferation. However, chronic pancreatitis could be further complicated with splenic vein thrombosis, pseudocysts, duodenal or biliary obstruction, pseudoaneurysm and pancreatic duct stones which might require endoscopic or surgical treatment.
Part of the book: Pancreatitis