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Pancreatic calcifications

Pancreatic calcifications can arise form many aetiologies.

Punctate intraductal calcifications
  • acute alcoholic pancreatitis (20-40%) 
    • intraductal, numerous, small, irregular
    • preponderant cause of diffuse pancreatic intraductal calcification
  • chronic pancreatitis
  • idiopathic: no underlying cause can be determined
  • hyperparathyroidism (10%) - look for nephrocalcinosis or urolithiasis (70%)
  • Kwashiorkor:
    • calcifications are common
    • seen in paediatric population
Smaller intraductal calcifications
  • senile 
    • usually over 70 years
    • scattered.
    • calcifications increase with age
  • cystic fibrosis: finely granular calcifications in smallest ducts in end stage disease with pancreatic failure
  • atherosclerotic calcifications
  • chronic pancreatitis
Larger intraductal calcifications
Dystrophic calcification

Note: adenocarcinomas of the pancreas do not generally calcify; rather, they typically engulf previously present adjacent calcifications.

Pancreatic calcification mimics
  • atherosclerosis of splenic artery and intrapancreatic arterioles
  • oral contrast in pancreatic diverticula

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