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Pancreas

Pancreatic dysfunction and treatment options.


PMID 9548675

Abstract

Pancreatic steatorrhea and pancreatic diabetes are the dominant symptoms of patients in the decompensated stage of chronic pancreatitis (CP). In this stage, the nutritional state is greatly disturbed and hypoglycemia and labile infection are involved. Pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy is the principal treatment method for pancreatic steatorrhea. Before initiating this therapy, dietary fat intake must be determined and pancreatic lipase and bicarbonate secretion function must be evaluated. Upper small intestinal pH is regulated by gastric acid secretion, and abnormal gastric emptying changes lipolysis. In addition, precipitation of bile acids in the upper small intestine and ileal brakes due to undigested fats and carbohydrates must be considered. Porcine pancreatin, bacterial lipase, and acid-resistant fungal lipase are used as enzymes for replacement therapy. Conventional, entero-coating, and enteric-coated microsphere preparations of porcine pancreatin are available for treatment and are formulated to protect against gastric acids, to dissolve enzymes at optimum pH, and to be emptied simultaneously with food from the stomach. Gastric acid secretion suppressants, such as H2 blockers or a proton pump inhibitor, can also be used concomitantly with pancreatin preparations. In consideration of both strengths and weaknesses of these preparations, types and dosages of enzyme replacement therapy should be carefully prescribed, and fecal fats should be examined repeatedly by a simple and rapid method during treatment. Attention should also be paid to changes in body weight and nutritional indices (e.g., nutritional parameters, fat-soluble vitamins). The relationship between carbohydrate maldigestion/malabsorption in CP patients and treatment of pancreatic diabetes are topics for future research.