What is Acute Hemorrhagic Pancreatitis?

The pancreas is a gland situated in the posterior region of the stomach. It is an important organ of the digestive system. It secretes pancreatic juices which help in metabolizing the food and assimilating the nutrients in the small intestine. It also functions as an endocrine gland and produces hormones like insulin, glucagon and somatostatin.

Acute hemorrhagic pancreatitis

is a condition of the pancreas which is characterized by the sudden inflammation of the tissues in the pancreas. As the hemorrhages indicate, it is accompanied with bleeding spots on the gland. The mortality from this condition is very high. The condition can become severe if it progresses into pancreatic necrosis, whereby the tissues of the pancreas are absolutely destroyed. It is caused by a situation in which the pancreatic enzymes self digest and damage the pancreatic tissues. This is known as Autolysis.

What causes Acute Hemorrhagic pancreatitis?

The most common causes of the said condition are as follows:

Acute Pancreatitis

  • Acute pancreatitis

    : Acute pancreatitis can progress in to the discussed condition. It is caused by a malfunction of the pancreas. It is generally treated in the Intensive Care Unit by fluid rehydration or NBM (Nil By Mouth) or by surgery.

  • Gallstones

    : The gallstones can flow down the bile duct from the gall bladder along with the bile and get lodged in the Ampulla of Vater and obstruct the outflow of the pancreatic enzymes. The backflow and the accumulation of the pancreatic enzymes in the pancreas can cause the enzyme to self digest and destroy the tissues of the pancreas.

  • Bleeding disorders

    : Bleeding disorders increase the propensity of developing hemorrhages on the said organ. Internal bleeding of the gastrointestinal tract can aggravate the condition.

  • Trauma

    : Any accidental and physical trauma damaging the pancreas can lead to this.

  • Alcohol Abuse

    : Persistent alcohol abuse has a toxic effect on the cells of the said gland. Alcohol is metabolized with the help of the pancreas and over consumption puts oxidative stress on it. It causes it to overproduce pancreatic enzymes and prompts the process of self digestion of the pancreatic tissue.

  • Steroids

    : Prolonged use of steroids can also cause the disease.

Other common causes are pregnancy, pancreatic cancer, fatty necrosis etc. It is also a life threatening reaction of a diabetes mellitus drug, namely, Byetta.


Some of the most common symptoms of the discussed condition are as follows:

  • Abdominal pain and tenderness.
  • Nausea, Vomiting, Diarrhea and decreased appetite.
  • Fever with chills.
  • Shock caused from instabilities in blood flow.

Treatment of Acute Hemorrhagic Pancreatitis

  • It is very important to treat the underlying infection in order to stop the bleeding. Antibiotics are used to treat the recurrent infection.
  • In case the condition is caused by gall stones, cholecystectomy or removal of gall bladder is suggested.
  • Intravenous fluids are used to provide oral rehydration as the patient is not allowed to eat by mouth during this period of intensive care.

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