Navigate Up

UPMC/University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
For Journalists
Director
Telephone: 412-586-9777
Other Inquiries

Endoscopic Therapy is an Effective Treatment for Chronic Pancreatitis, Pitt Researchers Find

PITTSBURGH, July 11, 2012 – Endoscopic therapy was found to be effective for patients with chronic pancreatitis, according to researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, whose findings appear in the July issue of the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
 
Chronic pancreatitis is a progressive inflammatory disease characterized by abdominal pain and permanent damage to the pancreas. Pain associated with the condition is often a result of pancreatic duct obstruction from stones or strictures. Endoscopic therapy is a minimally invasive procedure to treat these obstructions, alleviating the pressure in the pancreatic duct and ensuring adequate drainage of pancreatic secretions.
 
The researchers analyzed data on 146 patients enrolled in the North American Pancreatitis Study-2 to assess the utilization, effectiveness and long-term clinical outcomes of endoscopic therapy and surgery in patients with chronic pancreatitis compared with those who were managed medically.
 
Abdominal pain, the most debilitating symptom for those with the disease, was present in two-thirds of patients, with over half of those describing the pain as constant and requiring daily narcotics. Among study participants, 58 percent underwent endoscopic therapy, 33 percent were managed medically and 9 percent had surgery prior to the study. Of those who had endoscopic therapy, 33 percent later had surgery.
 
“Among those who were treated with endoscopic therapy, more than half had complete or partial long-term clinical success. Compared with those managed medically, patients undergoing endoscopic therapy were more symptomatic before treatment and had more complex disease. Of those patients who failed to improve after endoscopic therapy, half experienced good clinical outcomes following subsequent surgery,” said Dhiraj Yadav, M.D., M.P.H., lead author and associate professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
 
In addition, researchers found that the patients who responded to endoscopic therapy had the treatment sooner after diagnosis than those who didn’t respond to the therapy. This finding suggests that a degree of irreversibility develops as the disease progresses and may indicate a role for endoscopic or surgical intervention early in the disease course.
 
“Based on these findings, we propose a stepwise approach for managing chronic pancreatitis, starting with medical management. When indicated, patients should be considered for endoscopic therapy early in the disease course,” said Dr. Yadav. “A multidisciplinary, proactive approach is critical to controlling symptoms and disease progression in an effective, safe and lasting manner.”
 
Co-authors of the study are Bridger Clarke, M.D., Adam Slivka, M.D., Ph.D., Yutaka Tomizawa, M.D., Michael Sanders, M.D., Georgios Papachristou, M.D., and David Whitcomb, M.D., Ph.D., all from the University of Pittsburgh.

©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

© UPMC
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com