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Discharge Instructions for Acute Pancreatitis

You have been diagnosed with acute pancreatitis. Your pancreas is inflamed or swollen. The pancreas is an organ that produces chemicals and hormones that help you digest food and use sugar for energy. Gallstones are one of the most common causes of this condition. These hard stones form in the gallbladder, which shares a passage with the pancreas into the small intestine. If gallstones block this passage, fluid can’t escape the pancreas. The fluid backs up and causes inflammation.

Immediate home care

  • Find someone to drive you to appointments. Acute pancreatitis is a serious condition, and you should never drive if you are experiencing symptoms.

  • Stop drinking if your illness was caused by alcohol.

    • Ask your doctor about alcohol abuse programs and support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous.

    • Ask your doctor about prescription medications that can help you stop drinking.

  • Take your medications exactly as directed. Don’t skip doses.

  • Eat a low-fat diet. Ask your doctor for menus and other diet information.

  • Learn to take your own pulse. Keep a record of your results. Ask your doctor which readings mean that you need medical attention.

Ongoing care

  • Tell your doctor about any medications you are taking. Some can cause acute pancreatitis.

  • Tell your doctor if you lose weight without dieting.

  • Watch for symptoms that indicate your pancreatitis has returned. These symptoms include abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, and fever.

  • Keep all follow-up appointments with your doctor. Delayed complications are common with this illness.


Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.


When to call your doctor

Call your doctor immediately if you have any of the following:

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38.0°C) or higher

  • Severe pain from your upper abdomen to your back

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

  • Yellowing of your skin or eyes (jaundice)

  • Bruises on your abdomen or back

  • Abdominal swelling and tenderness

  • Rapid pulse

  • Shallow, fast breathing


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