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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 31

of 'Etiology of acute pancreatitis'

Does acute alcoholic pancreatitis precede the chronic form or is the opposite true? A histological study.
Migliori M, Manca M, Santini D, Pezzilli R, Gullo L
J Clin Gastroenterol. 2004;38(3):272.
OBJECTIVES: Whether acute alcoholic pancreatitis occurs in a normal pancreas or in a pancreas that has already been altered by chronic pancreatitis is unclear. Our objective is to clarify the relation between acute and chronic alcoholic pancreatitis by histologic study of the pancreas in a group of patients having a first attack of acute alcoholic pancreatitis.
METHODS: From January 1989 to December 1999, 138 patients with acute pancreatitis, of whom 28 had alcoholic pancreatitis, were seen by us; in 21 of the latter 28 patients, it was the first attack. Of these 21, 6 underwent surgery for acute necrotic pancreatitis. In all 6 patients, adequate pancreatic biopsies were obtained during surgery. Tissue samples were prepared for histologic examination according to standard procedures.
RESULTS: In all 6 patients, both acute necrotic and chronic lesions were found. The chronic lesions had characteristics of chronic calcifying pancreatitis and consisted of perilobular and intralobular fibrosis. loss of exocrine parenchyma, dilated interlobular ducts, and protein plugs within dilated ducts.
CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that acute alcoholic pancreatitis develops in a pancreas already affected by chronic pancreatitis. The hypothesis that in alcoholics chronic pancreatitis derives from acute pancreatitis is not supported by the present data.
Institute of Internal Medicine, University of Bologna, Sant' Orsola Hospital, Bologna, Italy.