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Acute Pancreatitis Diagnosis

When making an acute pancreatitis diagnosis, a doctor will ask about a person's medical history, do a physical exam, and order a blood test and possibly imaging tests. During attacks of acute pancreatitis, the blood contains at least three times more amylase and lipase than usual; doctors will look for these increased levels when making a diagnosis. When diagnosing acute pancreatitis, a doctor may also order an abdominal ultrasound to look for gallstones and a CAT scan (also known as CT scan or computerized axial tomography) to look for inflammation or destruction of the pancreas.

Acute Pancreatitis Diagnosis: An Overview

In order to make a diagnosis of acute pancreatitis, the healthcare provider will ask a number of questions about:
  • Current symptoms
  • Medical conditions
  • Current medications
  • Alcohol usage
  • Family history of any medical conditions.
He or she will also perform a physical exam to look for signs and symptoms of acute pancreatitis. Besides asking about a person's medical history and doing a physical exam, a doctor will order a blood test and possibly imaging tests to diagnose acute pancreatitis.

Diagnosing Acute Pancreatitis With Blood Tests

During acute pancreatitis attacks, the blood contains at least three times more amylase and lipase than usual. Amylase and lipase are digestive enzymes formed in the pancreas. In acute pancreatitis, changes may also occur in blood levels of:
  • Glucose
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Bicarbonate.
After the pancreas improves, these levels usually return to normal.

Info About Acute Pancreatitis

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