Gallstone pancreatitis

Dr Henry Knipe et al.

Gallstone pancreatitis refers to pancreatitis caused by gallstones, specifically distal choledocholithiasis. Gallstones is the cause for 35-40% of acute pancreatitis but this number has a wide regional variance. 

Gallstone pancreatitis has a higher incidence in women (compared to alcoholic pancreatitis, which has a higher incidence in men) 4

The exact pathophysiology of gallstone pancreatitis remains unclear. There are a number of theories 2,3:

  • distal gallstone obstruction results in pancreatic duct obstruction, this results in increased pancreatic duct pressure and unregulated pancreatic enzyme activity
  • acinar cell hyperstimulation has also been implicated
  • infected bile reflux inducing pancreatic enzyme action

Treatment options vary but include conservative management, cholecystectomy (acute or delayed) and/or ERCP 1. If gallstones are not treated, recurrence occurs in ~45% (range 32-61%) 4.

Pancreatic pathology
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Article information

rID: 35488
Section: Pathology
Tag: cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Gallstone-induced pancreatitis
  • Biliary pancreatitis

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