What Is Acute Pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis is the inflammation and auto-digestion of the pancreas. Auto-digestion describes a process whereby pancreatic enzymes destroy its own tissue. This causes swelling, bleeding (hemorrhage), and damage to the pancreas and its blood vessels. Acute pancreatitis usually involves a single "attack," after which the pancreas returns to normal. Left untreated or insufficiently treated, acute pancreatitis can be a life-threatening illness with serious complications. If you think you are suffering from acute pancreatitis, seek immediate medical attention.