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Pancreatic Function testing can be a sensitive way to diagnosis early chronic pancreatitis.
Early forms of chronic pancreatitis can be difficult to detect because images of the pancreas and indirect tests of pancreatic function may be normal. Our specialists can perform pancreatic function testing using the endoscope to detect early-stage chronic pancreatitis, and determine a pancreatic cause for unexplained chronic diarrhea.
The patient is sedated and the endoscope is passed into the small bowel at the location of the ampulla, which is formed by the union of the pancreatic and common bile ducts. Synthetic human secretin is administered intravenously to the patient and pancreatic juice is collected at 15 minute intervals for 60 minutes.
The pancreatic juice is collected to measure the bicarbonate concentration. Adequate production and secretion of bicarbonate implies intact functioning of the pancreas.
In more advanced stages of pancreatitis, when malabsorption and diabetes can occur, we may order blood, urine, and stool tests to help diagnose chronic pancreatitis and monitor its progression.