Korean J Pancreas Biliary Tract.  2016 Jan;21(1):1-10. 10.15279/kpba.2016.21.1.1.

Evaluation and Treatment of Recurrent Acute Pancreatitis

  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. drsong@amc.seoul.kr


Acute recurrent pancreatitis (ARP) refers to a clinical condition characterized by repeated episodes of acute pancreatitis, diagnosed retrospectively after at least the second episode of acute pancreatitis. It is still controversial that acute pancreatitis can progress to chronic pancreatitis, and acute, acute recurrent and chronic pancreatitis is a continuum of disease. The causes of ARP can be divided into mechanical, hereditary and metabolic factor. Despite recent advances in diagnostic technologies, the etiology of ARP still remains unknown in up to 30% of cases. Especially in recurrent episode of idiopathic pancreatitis, a clinician should be considered not only the common causes of ARP, such as gallstone disease and alcohol, but also rare causes of ARP. The common causes of 'idiopathic' recurrent pancreatitis are microlithiasis, sludge, sphincter of oddi dysfunction, pancreas divisum and hereditary pancreatitis. Various treatment options, such as cholecystectomy, endoscopic sphincterotomy, medical and surgery can be applied according to the identified etiology of ARP and treatment should be individualized. Currently, endoscopic treatment is increasingly performed and served as a curative treatment strategy. The medical treatment can be an option in microlithiasis and sludge, but it has limitation in terms of systemic side effect, efficacy and lack of long term outcome. Endoscopic treatment should be considered in selected patients with identifiable cause, and post procedural complication should be considered before endoscopic treatment.


Acute pancreatitis; Recurrent; Idiopathic; Diagnosis; Treatment
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