Chronic Pancreatitis and the Hepatobiliary System

Segal, Isidor; Lawson, Hugh H.; Rabinowitz, Bernard; Hamilton, Donald G.
November 1982
American Journal of Gastroenterology;Nov1982, Vol. 77 Issue 11, p867
Academic Journal
Alcohol-induced chronic pancreatitis involving the head of pancreas may have profound effects on the hepatobiliary system. The natural history, complications, and management of the syndrome are presented, using selected cases to emphasize important features. Chronic pancreatitis can cause mechanical obstruction to both the distal common bile duct and the proximal pancreatic duct. In the common bile duct this will result in proximal dilatation above the stenosis with bile stasis. Possible sequelae are ascending cholangitis, cholecystitis, biliary calculi formation, and secondary biliary cirrhosis. The mechanical effects of stricture of the proximal pancreatic duct may exacerbate pancreatic dysfunction. The clinico-pathological spectrum of chronic pancreatitis with biliary obstruction encompasses three clinical types--"transient," "recurrent, and "persistent." The widespread effects of the syndrome are evident from the involvement of pancreas, proximal pancreatic duct, papilla of Vater, liver, peripheral biliary tree, common bile duct, gallbladder, and reticuloendothelial system. Essential to management is surgery which should be considered when there is objective evidence of obstruction to the common bile duct. Choledochoduodenostomy is the preferred type of operation. If dilatation is mild and jaundice transient, conservative therapy with careful observation is advocated.


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