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Context When assessing the bilio-pancreatic region, collating the findings of serum CA 19- 9 values together with findings from various imaging tests - especially endoscopic ultrasonography - is not a simple issue in daily clinical practice. Objective To assess the usefulness of endoscopic ultrasonography in an Endoscopic Ultrasonography Unit in two situations: patients with asymptomatic elevation of serum CA 19-9 and patients who presented with abdominal pain plus elevation of CA 19-9. Methods A retrospective study of those patients who underwent radial endoscopic ultrasonography between October 2004 and September 2005 in our institution, considering an elevation of CA 19-9 (equal to or greater than 37 U/mL) with or without symptoms. In each case, the parameters recorded were: levels of CA 19-9 one week before EUS, results from other imaging techniques (US, helical CT), and final diagnosis according to pathological and/or clinical evolution criteria. Patients with previous attacks of acute pancreatitis and also those who presented with bile duct dilation or space-occupying lesions in image studies (US and CT) were excluded. Twenty-two patients met the inclusion criteria. Results Asymptomatic elevation of CA 19-9 was found in 15 patients while 7 patients had elevated CA 19-9 levels as well as pain of uncertain origin. The results of EUS in the asymptomatic patients were: chronic pancreatitis in 7 patients, no pancreatic alterations in 3 patients, and renal cysts, choledocholithiasis, michrolithiasis and liver cirrhosis in one patient, respectively. In patients with abdominal pain, EUS showed chronic pancreatitis in 6 cases and adenocarcinoma of the tail of the pancreas in the remaining patient. Conclusions When EUS was indicated for the asymptomatic elevation of CA 19-9, the main findings were benign diseases. EUS was useful in studying patients with idiopathic abdominal pain and a slight elevation of CA 19-9 since it allowed us to detect chronic pancreatitis and even early adenocarcinoma of the pancreatic tail.
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Author(s): Jose Luis Ulla Rocha Maria Victoria Alvarez Sanchez Estela Fernandez Salgado Manuel Javier Vazquez Sanluis Luis Ledo Barro Enrique Vazquez Astray Javier Paz Esquete Carlos Alvarez Alvarez
Abdominal Pain, CA-19-9 Antigen, Endosonography, Pancreatitis, Chronic, Pancreatic Neoplasms