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How is Pancreatitis Diagnosed?

Diagnosing pancreatitis involves medical history, physical exams, lab tests, and imaging procedures. Early diagnosis is essential for prompt treatment and better outcomes.

  • 12 Feb 2024
  • 2 min read

Pancreatitis is swelling or inflammation of the pancreas, a small organ below the rib and behind the stomach. The disease could be acute, mild or severe. According to a study, 4 out of 5 pancreatitis doesn't create many problems, and patients improve faster. And 1 in 5 cases are severe and might be life-threatening, like multiple organ failure.

Time is the most crucial factor in curing any disease, including pancreatitis. And to begin treatment timely, we require pancreatitis diagnosis in time. Also, consider health insurance to shield one’s life against sudden financial shocks.

Diagnosis of Pancreatitis

  • To begin the diagnosis and understanding of the cause, medical professionals study patients' medical history, perform physical exams, and conduct lab and imaging tests.
  • Doctors ask patients about symptoms, history of health conditions that might develop into pancreatitis, including medicines, and family or personal history of gallstones or pancreatitis. During the physical appointment, a medical professional examines the body and checks the abdomen for swelling, tenderness or pain.
  • Pancreatitis diagnosis is difficult in the early phase. Doctors usually test similar symptoms for other conditions like pancreatic cancer, peptic ulcer, etc. Medical professionals do imaging and lab tests to diagnose pancreatitis.
  • Lab tests for pancreatitis diagnosis examine blood glucose levels, blood fats or lipids, levels of lipase and amylase enzymes, and signs of inflammation or infection of bile ducts, gallbladder, liver, or pancreas. Doctors can also run a stool test to check fat malabsorption.
  • Doctors conduct imaging tests for pancreatitis diagnosis through multiple methods, including Ultrasound, Computed Tomography Scan, Magnetic Resonance Cholangiopancreatography (MRCP), Endoscopic Ultrasound, and Pancreatic Function Test.
  • Ultrasound: doctors use a transducer that emits safe and painless sound waves from your body parts to form an image of their formation. The procedure can diagnose gallstones.
  • Computed Tomography Scan: Doctors prescribe CT scans to create images of the pancreas, bile ducts, and gallbladder. CT scans also help detect pancreatic cancer.
  • Magnetic Resonance Cholangiopancreatography (MRCP): It is an advanced method for pancreatitis diagnosis in which doctors use MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to create organ and soft tissue images without X-rays. Medical experts look for the cause of pancreatitis by looking into the pancreas, bile ducts and gallbladder through MRCP.
  • Endoscopic Ultrasound: A medical professional inserts a flexible and thin tube called an endoscope down the patient's throat, through the stomach, and into the small intestine. Doctors turn on an ultrasound machine and take images of bile ducts and pancreas.
  • Pancreatic Function Test: Doctors conduct PFT to analyse how the pancreas responds to secretin. It is a type of hormone generated by the small intestine.

Also read:


These are prominent pancreatitis diagnosis methods to check the level of the disease and suitable treatment procedures. Symptoms of pancreatitis are severe belly pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, inflammation in the upper stomach, rapid heart rate, low BP and more. Know the symptoms and consult a gastroenterologist for diagnosis and treatment as soon as you observe any mentioned signs. While medical science has technically evolved over the years, so are its costs. To avoid burdensome expenses, one must consider health insurance with wide coverage.

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