Lege Artis Medicinae

[AUTOIMMUNE PANCREATITIS - AN UNDERDIAGNOSED DISEASE?]

CZAKÓ László

JUNE 21, 2006

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2006;16(06)

[Autoimmune pancreatitis is a recently recognized type of chronic pancreatitis that is clearly distinct from alcoholic chronic pancreatitis. Its clinical symptoms include jaundice, abdominal pain, weight loss and diabetes mellitus. It may be associated with other autoimmune diseases. IgG levels are elevated and autoantibodies can be detected. Pancreatic imaging reveals a diffuse enlargement of the pancreas and irregular narrowing of the main pancreatic duct. The characteristic histological features are lymphoplasmacytic infiltration and fibrosis. Autoimmune pancreatitis responds dramatically to steroid therapy, in contrast to other types of chronic pancreatitis, which hardly respond to any of the various therapies. It is important to be aware of this disease because it may be mistaken for other forms of chronic pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer, which leads to pancreatic resection when steroid treatment would be sufficient. This review discusses the clinical, laboratory, histological and imaging findings that are seen in autoimmune pancreatitis with particular focus on diagnosis. With the improvement of the diagnostic work-up less unnecessary pancreatic resections are expected to happen in patients with autoimmune pancreatitis.]

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