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How is acute pancreatitis diagnosed?

The abdominal pain typical of people with acute pancreatitis leads doctors to diagnose the condition, particularly in individuals with histories of gallstones or alcoholism. Doctors may also use physical exams, which include current symptoms of severe pain in the upper abdomen, no detectible sounds of digestion, and rigid muscles of the abdominal wall. They may use blood and stool tests to look for pancreatic enzymes and white blood cells, signs the body is fighting inflammation. Abdominal ultrasound can be used to see signs of swelling and gallstones. X-rays can also show gallstones as well as detect fluid in the abdomen or collapsed lungs. CT scans (computed tomography) and MRI's (magnetic resonance imaging) also help the doctor make an accurate diagnosis.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.