Pancreatitis Pancreatitis by linzhengnd


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  Jackie Lasanen

Ridgewater College


    Kim Lerke

November 26, 2009
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       The purpose of this paper is to discuss pancreatitis. In this paper I will identify pertinent

labs, medications, patient education and prioritizations of cares and nursing interventions used

when caring for a patient with pancreatitis.

       Pancreatitis is a term used to describe inflammation on the pancreas. The pancreas is a

long, flat gland that sits tucked behind the stomach in the upper abdomen. The pancreas produces

enzymes that help digestion and hormones that help regulate the way the body processes sugar.

(, 2009)

       Pancreatitis can occur as acute pancreatitis, meaning it appears suddenly and lasts for

days. Or pancreatitis can occur as chronic pancreatitis, which describes pancreatitis that occurs

over many years.

       Some signs and symptoms of acute pancreatitis include, upper abdominal pain,

abdominal pain the radiates to your back, abdominal pain that feels worse after eating, abdominal

pain that is somewhat relieved by leaning forward or curling in a ball, nausea, vomiting and

tenderness when palpating the abdomen. Signs and symptoms of chronic pancreatitis include

upper abdominal pain, indigestion, losing weight without trying and oily, smelly stools.

(, 2009)

       In pancreatitis, the enzymes become activated while still in the pancreas. This causes the

enzymes to irritate the cells of the pancreas, causing inflammation and the signs and symptoms

associated with pancreatitis. Pancreatitis has many causes some of which include gallstones,

abdominal surgery, family history, alcoholism, infection, ulcers, certain medications,

hyperparathyroidism, hypercalcemia and cigarette smoking to name a few.
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       Some pertinent tests done to diagnosis pancreatitis are blood tests including amylase (the

pancreatic enzyme responsible for digestion carbohydrates). It will increase from 2 to 12 hours

after initial symptoms and peaks at 12 to 72 hours. It may rise 5 to 10 times the normal level and

will usually return to normal within a week. Normal value for amylase is 23-40. Another blood

test done to diagnosis pancreatitis is lipase (the enzyme that, along with bile from the liver

digests fat). Lipase increases in the blood within 4 to 8 hours at the beginning of an acute attack

and peaks at 24 hours. It may rise to several times its normal level and remain elevated longer

than amylase. Normal value for lipase is 12-70. Another blood test don is trypsin (which digests

proteins). This test is thought to be the most sensitive blood test for acute pancreatitis but is not

widely available and not routinely used. The normal value for trypsin is 140-400. CBC is another

important blood test to monitor. A few other tests that may be done include, bilirubin and liver

function tests, glucose, calcium, magnesium, C-reactive protein (measures inflammation), fecal

fat, abdominal ultrasound and CT scan.

       Sometimes pancreatitis will go away on its own but when hospitalization occurs some of

the medications used in treating pancreatitis are analgesics to relieve pain. Meperidine is

preferred over Morphine because of the greater spastic effect of the latter on the sphincter of

Oddi. Anti-ulcer medications may also be used to suppress stomach ulcers. Some of these

medications include Tagament, Pepcid or Zantac. Intravenous fluids are also given to rehydrate

the patient. Alternative medication is also an option to relieve the pain associated with

pancreatitis. Some therapies that are helpful in coping with the pain include meditation,

relaxation exercises, Yoga and relaxing music.

       Nursing interventions and treatment include pain management as top priority. Pancreatitis

can cause severe pain and analgesics will be given to relieve the pain. Second priority would be
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to administer intravenous fluids as ordered. As the body devotes energy and fluids to repairing

the pancreas, the body becomes more dehydrated. The patient will be required to rest the

pancreas so they will not be able to take in foods and fluid by mouth for a few days. Once the

inflammation in the pancreas is controlled the patient may begin drinking clear liquids and eating

bland food. With time the patient may advance to a normal diet.

       Education is very important for a patient with pancreatitis. Some important things to

educate the patient about include cessation of consuming alcohol if the patient does drink. It is

also important for them to stop smoking if they do smoke because that can cause pancreatitis.

Education on their diet is also important they should learn how to choose a diet that emphasizes

fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, and also limit fat intake. Lastly they

should drink adequate amounts of fluids. Pancreatitis can cause dehydration so it is very

important to stay hydrated.

       In this paper I discussed pancreatitis and its signs and symptoms. I also listed some

pertinent labs used in diagnosing pancreatitis. I went over some of the medications used for

patients with acute pancreatitis. I also listed nursing interventions and their priorities when caring

for a patient with pancreatitis. Lastly I listed things that I would educate the patient on. Mild

cases of pancreatitis may go away without treatment, but severe cases can cause life-threatening

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                                          References (2009) Pancreatitis Retrieved November 26, 2009 from

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