Chronic pancreatitis (long-standing inflammation of the pancreas) (CP) is a challenging disease for health care practitioners because it is difficult to diagnose and treat. Although its annual incidence rate in the United States is low (five to 12 per 100,000 persons), hospital admissions due to CP are on the rise. CP is characterized by severe abdominal pain and irreversible damage to the pancreas.

In the past decade new medical and surgical treatments have emerged that enable multidisciplinary teams to better recognize and manage this disease. In 2014, gastrointestinal specialists at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), led by David B. Adams, M.D. (pictured below), professor of surgery and an expert in CP, organized the first international exchange of information on these advancements.
Dr. David B. Adams
The "2014 International Symposium on the Medical and Surgical Treatment of Chronic Pancreatitis" brought together experts from the fields of medicine, surgery, psychology, physiology, pharmacology and genetics.


Examples of breakthrough information from the meeting include:

  • New research findings about the causes of CP and its pain pathways
  • Updates on the endoscopic management of CP
  • Updates on total pancreatectomy combined with auto islet transplantation

Last month, a textbook covering the information that came out of that meeting was published (Wiley-Blackwell, April 2017). "Pancreatitis: Medical and Surgical Management" (ISBN: 978-1-118-91712-1) covers acute pancreatitis (sudden inflammation that lasts a short time) as well as CP. Adams is the chief editor. Co-editors are Peter B. Cotton, M.D., professor of medicine at MUSC; Nicholas J. Zyromski, M.D., associate professor of surgery at Indiana University School of Medicine; and John A. Windsor, MBChB, M.D., professor of surgery at Mercy Hospital in New Zealand.

The book provides gastroenterologists and gastrointestinal surgeons with an evidence-based approach to the most recent developments in the diagnosis and clinical management of pancreatitis. In addition to new surgical procedures such as endoscopic biliary intervention and minimally invasive necrosectomy, these advances include medical therapies, such as antiprotease, lexipafant, probiotics and enzyme treatment.

"This book is the latest information from international experts in all of the relevant disciplines of medicine," says Adams. "This represents the first time all of these experts have come together to share their knowledge and experience."

MUSC will host a second international CP symposium in 2018 in Charleston, South Carolina. International experts from the fields of medicine, surgery, psychology, physiology, pharmacology and genetics will confer and exchange ideas to identify the direction, trends and developments in the diagnosis and management of CP that are needed to enhance clinical effectiveness, encourage adoption by healthcare providers, and engage patients in best practice and cost-effective care.

For more information, visit http://www.pancreatitissymposium.org.