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Idiopathic Acute Pancreatitis

Kim, Hyun Jun MD; Kim, Myung-Hwan MD, PhD; Bae, Jong-Seok MD; Lee, Sang-Soo MD; Seo, Dong Wan MD, PhD; Lee, Sung Koo MD, PhD

Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology: September 2003 - Volume 37 - Issue 3 - p 238-250
Liver, Pancreas, and Biliary Tract: Clinical Review: Pancreatic & Biliary Disease

After routine investigations, including a thorough history, routine laboratory study, and noninvasive imaging with transcutaneous ultrasonogram, 10% to 25% of cases of acute pancreatitis have no readily identifiable cause and are termed idiopathic. But modern medicine has made notable advances in uncovering various causes of acute pancreatitis, and several new diagnostic tools that allow clinicians to less invasively approach the patient without sacrificing the diagnostic yield have been introduced. By being knowledgeable of these new changes and by their proper use in a proper circumstances, clinicians will be able to find the cause more accurately and earlier. This better management will not only improve the well-being of the patients but also reduce the number of “true” idiopathic acute pancreatitis to a minimum.

From the Department of Internal Medicine, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Myung-Hwan Kim, 388-1 Pungnap-dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul 138-736, Korea. E-mail: mhkim@

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.