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Alcohol and Acute Pancreatitis

By Guillermo Robles-Diaz and Fred S. Gorelick


Alcohol abuse is associated with the development of both acute and chronic pancreatitis. The majority of patients who abuse alcohol will not develop pancreatitis; the reasons for different susceptibilities to alcohol are unknown. Most patients who present with acute alcoholic pancreatitits will have underlying chronic disease, but up to a third will have no evidence of chronic pancreatitis. Alcohol has a number of acute effects on the pancreas that are potentially toxic. These include increasing pancreatic duct pressure, decreasing pancreatic blood flow, generating free radicals, and stimulating pathologic zymogen activation within the pancreatic acinar cell

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