Pancreatitis is the inflammation or disease of the pancreas. An attack of pancreatitis is a medical emergency and requires immediate hospitalization. Over 80% of cases are due to alcohol abuse or gallstones.
Chronic pancreatitis is a long-standing inflammation of the pancreas that alters its normal structure and functions. It can present as episodes of acute inflammation in a previously injured pancreas, or as chronic damage with persistent pain or malabsorption.
Acute pancreatitis is a rapid-onset inflammation of the pancreas. Depending on its severity, it can have severe complications and high mortality despite treatment. While mild cases are often successfully treated with conservative measures, such as NPO (abstaining from any oral intake) and IV fluid rehydration, severe cases may require admission to the ICU or even surgery (often more than one intervention) to deal with complications of the disease process.