Abdominal pain is the foremost complication of chronic pancreatitis (CP). Pain can be related to recurrent or chronic inflammation, local complications or neurogenic mechanisms with corresponding changes in the nervous systems. Both pain intensity and the frequency of pain attacks have been shown to reduce quality of life in patients with CP. Assessment of pain follows the guidelines for other types of chronic pain, where the multidimensional nature of symptom presentation is taken into consideration. Quantitative sensory testing may be used to characterize pain, but is currently used in a research setting in advanced laboratories. For pain relief, current guidelines recommend a simple stepwise escalation of analgesic drugs with increasing potency until pain relief is obtained. Abstinence from alcohol and smoking should be strongly advised. Pancreatic enzyme therapy and antioxidants may be helpful as initial treatment. Endoscopic treatment can be used in patients with evidence of ductal obstruction and may be combined with extracorporeal shock wave lithothripsy. The best candidates are those with distal obstruction of the main pancreatic duct and in early stage of disease. Behavioral interventions should be part of the multidisciplinary approach to chronic pain management particularly when psychological impact is experienced. Surgery should be considered early and after a maximum of five endoscopic interventions. The type of surgery depends on morphological changes of the pancreas. Long-term effects are variable, but high success rates have been reported in open studies and when compared with endoscopic treatment. Finally, neurolytical interventions and neuromodulation can be considered in difficult patients.
The pancreas is a major player in nutrient digestion. In chronic pancreatitis both exocrine and endocrine insufficiency may develop leading to malnutrition over time. Maldigestion is often a late complication of chronic pancreatic and depends on the severity of the underlying disease. The severity of malnutrition is correlated with two major factors: (1) malabsorption and depletion of nutrients (e.g., alcoholism and pain) causes impaired nutritional status; and (2) increased metabolic activity due to the severity of the disease. Nutritional deficiencies negatively affect outcome if they are not treated. Nutritional assessment and the clinical severity of the disease are important for planning any nutritional intervention. Good nutritional practice includes screening to identify patients at risk, followed by a thoroughly nutritional assessment and nutrition plan for risk patients. Treatment should be multidisciplinary and the mainstay of treatment is abstinence from alcohol, pain treatment, dietary modifications and pancreatic enzyme supplementation. To achieve energy-end protein requirements, oral supplementation might be beneficial. Enteral nutrition may be used when patients do not have sufficient calorie intake as in pylero-duodenal-stenosis, inflammation or prior to surgery and can be necessary if weight loss continues. Parenteral nutrition is very seldom used in patients with chronic pancreatitis and should only be used in case of GI-tract obstruction or as a supplement to enteral nutrition.
BackgroundA major problem in pain medicine is the lack of knowledge about which treatment suits a specific patient. We tested the ability of quantitative sensory testing to predict the analgesic effect of pregabalin and placebo in patients with chronic pancreatitis.MethodsSixty-four patients with painful chronic pancreatitis received pregabalin (150–300 mg BID) or matching placebo for three consecutive weeks. Analgesic effect was documented in a pain diary based on a visual analogue scale. Responders were defined as patients with a reduction in clinical pain score of 30% or more after three weeks of study treatment compared to baseline recordings. Prior to study medication, pain thresholds to electric skin and pressure stimulation were measured in dermatomes T10 (pancreatic area) and C5 (control area). To eliminate inter-subject differences in absolute pain thresholds an index of sensitivity between stimulation areas was determined (ratio of pain detection thresholds in pancreatic versus control area, ePDT ratio). Pain modulation was recorded by a conditioned pain modulation paradigm. A support vector machine was used to screen sensory parameters for their predictive power of pregabalin efficacy.ResultsThe pregabalin responders group was hypersensitive to electric tetanic stimulation of the pancreatic area (ePDT ratio 1.2 (0.9–1.3)) compared to non-responders group (ePDT ratio: 1.6 (1.5–2.0)) (P = 0.001). The electrical pain detection ratio was predictive for pregabalin effect with a classification accuracy of 83.9% (P = 0.007). The corresponding sensitivity was 87.5% and specificity was 80.0%. No other parameters were predictive of pregabalin or placebo efficacy.ConclusionsThe present study provides first evidence that quantitative sensory testing predicts the analgesic effect of pregabalin in patients with painful chronic pancreatitis. The method can be used to tailor pain medication based on patient’s individual sensory profile and thus comprises a significant step towards personalized pain medicine.
Patients with eosinophilic oesophagitis are hypersensitive to acid perfused in the oesophagus, and pathophysiologic findings are likely confined to the peripheral tissue. Reflux from physiological acid may play a role in the symptoms of eosinophilic oesophagitis.
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