One out of ten cases of acute pancreatitis develops into severe acute ancreatitis which is a life threatening disorder with a high mortality rate. The other nine cases are self limiting and need very little therapy. The specificity of good clinical judgement on admission, concerning the prognosis of the attack, is high (high specificity) but misses a lot of severe cases (low sensitivity). The prediction of severity in acute pancreatitis was first suggested by John HC Ranson in 1974. Much effort has been put into finding a simple scoring system or a good biochemical marker for selecting the severe cases of acute pancreatitis immediately on admission. Today C-reactive protein is the method of choice although this marker is not valid until 48-72 hours after the onset of pain. Inflammatory mediators upstream from CRP like interleukin-6 and other cytokines are likely to react faster and preliminary results for some of these mediators look promising. Another successful approach has been to study markers for the activation of trypsinogen such as TAP and CAPAP. This is based on studies showing that active trypsin is the initial motor of the inflammatory process in acute pancreatitis. In the near future a combined clinical and laboratory approach for early severity prediction will be the most reliable. Clinical judgement predicts 1/3 of the severe cases on admission and early markers for either inflammation or trypsinogen activation should accurately identify 50-60% of the mild cases among the rest, thus missing only 2-4% of the remaining severe cases. One problem is that there is no simple and fast method to analyze any of these parameters.
To view similar articles: https://www.omicsonline.org/ArchivePancreas/currentissue-pancreas-open-access.php