ZocdocAnswersI had acute pancreatitis 3 weeks ago. Is organ failure possible?

Question

I had acute pancreatitis 3 weeks ago. Is organ failure possible?

I had acute pancreatitis 3 weeks ago. My lipase was 703. I still have pain and nausea. My lipase was 20 four days ago. Is organ failure still possible?

Answer

I would suggest that you schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist. I'll start off by saying that a lipase level is a very good way to diagnose pancreatitis but following the lipase level is not that useful to determine whether or not the pancreatitis has resolved or is resolving. Acute pancreatitis can be caused by many different things but the two most common are gallbladder stones and alcohol. Pancreatitis causes severe abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. The condition usually resolves on its own with just supportive care such as pain control and IV fluids. If you are still having pain three weeks later then you definitely need another evaluation. One possibility is that the cause of your initial pancreatitis has not gone away. The fact that your lipase is low does not convince me that you don't still have an ongoing cause of this. If you were drinking alcohol heavily and still are this is the likely cause. If you had a gallbladder stone and was never removed then this could be the cause. Pancreatitis can cause organ failure most specifically the kidneys, but this generally does not cause pain and nausea. Again, I would suggest that you schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist. He or she can review your laboratory work, you're imaging, and you're symptoms to determine what needs to be done next.

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