Establishing a biliary etiology in acute pancreatitis is clinically important because of the potential need for invasive treatment, such as endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography. The etiology of acute biliary pancreatitis (ABP) is multifactorial and complex. Passage of small gallbladder stones or biliary sludge through the ampulla of Vater seems to be important in the pathogenesis of ABP. Other factors, such as anatomical variations associated with an increased biliopancreatic reflux, bile and pancreatic juice exclusion from the duodenum, and genetic factors might contribute to the development of ABP. A diagnosis of a biliary etiology in acute pancreatitis is supported by both laboratory and imaging investigations. An increased serum level of alanine aminotransferase (>1.0 μkat/l) is associated with a high probability of gallstone pancreatitis (positive predictive value 80-90%). Confirmation of choledocholithiasis is most accurately obtained using endoscopic ultrasonography or magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography. This Review discusses the pathogenesis of ABP and the clinical techniques used to predict and establish a biliary origin in patients with suspected ABP.

dx.doi.org/10.1038/nrgastro.2010.114, hdl.handle.net/1765/28637
Nature Reviews Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Geenen, E-J.M, van der Peet, D.L, Bhagirath, P, Mulder, C.J.J, & Bruno, M.J. (2010). Etiology and diagnosis of acute biliary pancreatitis. Nature Reviews Gastroenterology and Hepatology (Vol. 7, pp. 495–502). doi:10.1038/nrgastro.2010.114