Acute pancreatitis is an inflammatory condition of the pancreas that is painful and at times deadly. Despite the great advances in critical care medicine over the past 20 years, the mortality rate of acute pancreatitis has remained at about 10%. Inflammation of the pancreatic tissue can be divided into chronic and acute inflammation depending on the degree of resolution of the tissue inflammation. Over 80% of all cases of acute pancreatitis are due to gallstones or the alcohol abuse. Severe abdominal pain is the hallmark symptom of patients suffering from acute pancreatitis as well as of chronic pancreatitis. The successful treatment of patients with acute pancreatitis has three prerequisites:
1) an adequate and early fluid resuscitation,
2) proper nutritional support and
3) an adequate pain management.