Acute Pancreatitis

Your doctor will ask about your medical history, perform a physical exam and order blood tests to check for certain enzymes.

During acute attacks, the blood contains at least three times more than the normal amount of digestive enzymes formed in the pancreas. Changes may occur in blood levels of glucose, calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium and bicarbonate. After the pancreas recovers, these levels usually return to normal.

An abdominal ultrasound to look for gallstones and a computerized tomography (CT) scan to check for injury to the pancreas may be performed.

A procedure, called an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), may determine if there is a bile duct obstruction. During this procedure, a flexible tube is inserted down the throat into the stomach and small intestines. Dye is injected into the drainage tube of the pancreas to locate a possible obstruction.

Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.

Related Information

UCSF Clinics & Centers


Gastroenterology at Mount Zion
1701 Divisadero St., Suite 120
San Francisco, CA 94115
Phone: (415) 502-4444
Fax: (415) 502-2249
Appointment information

Gastroenterology at Parnassus
350 Parnassus Ave., Suite 410
San Francisco, CA 94143
Phone: (415) 502-2112
Fax: (415) 514-3300
Appointment information

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