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Forum Name: Gastroenterology Topics

Question: pancreatic calcification


 beryl - Fri Sep 26, 2008 1:07 am

My 75 year old mother was checked for abdominal pain and diagnosed with a kidney stone, which then disappeared. During the various test she was told that she has pancreatic calcification. she does not present with pancreatitis and no longer has the abdominal pains. No mass was found. She is not a drinker nor suffers from cystic fibrosis. Her GP said there was nothing to worry about, however, she is slowly losing weight whilst eating normally if not more than usual. I am very worried that the pancreatic calcification is causing the weight loss and can't seem to find any information about long-term side effects of the calcification or if it can be treated. any further information would be appreciated. thank you
 Dr. Safaa Mahmoud - Thu Oct 16, 2008 7:08 am

User avatar Hello,
Causes of pancreatic calcification include:
- Chronic alcoholic pancreatitis: is the most common cause of pancreatic calcifications in the United States predominantly affecting the head of the pancreas.

- Pancreatic cancer (commonest types) typically does not calcify but can be associated with underlying chronic calcific pancreatitis. While Islet cell tumors can be associated with calcific pancreas (rare). They are either functioning tumors are frequently less than 2 cm in diameter but have characteristic symptoms or nonfunctioning tumors are large about 8 cm in diameter

Causes of calcific pancreas occurs mainly in elderly include:
- Mucinous cystic neoplasms are most commonly seen in women above 60 years old and calcifications occur in the cyst wall or septa.

- Serous cystadenomas, a benign pancreatic neoplasm, slow growing and about10 cm in diameter and commonly seen in elderly patients.

- Intraductal calculi occur in the peripheral ducts and are generally 1-3 mm may cause fibrosis of the pancreas as a result of duct obstruction.

- Several conditions may mimic pancreatic calcification such as calcification of the splenic artery, calcified gallstones or retained contrast in duodenal diverticula.

Loosing weight is commonly seen in patients with chronic pancreatitis when the exocrine function (it secretes enzymes for digestion) of the pancreas is deficient. And although the condition can be painless, patients may have steatorrhea, weight loss, or diabetes mellitus.

Current imaging techniques with advanced modalities including CT, sonography, endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, and MR imaging allow better characterization for these changes and makes recognition of the possible underlying causes easier.

So, I would advise you to follow up with her doctor and to get her checked , do simple tests like stool analysis and measuring total fat content in stools, blood sugar, proteins and radiological examination if needed.

Hope you find this information useful.
Please keep us updated.
Best regards.
 beryl - Thu Oct 16, 2008 11:56 pm

Dear Safaa
thank you for your detailed reply, it is very much appreciated.

Just yesterday my mother saw a urologist who has informed her that she has blockages in the tubes leading from her kidney - they are going to explore in a procedure using dye in a month. the urologist was not concerned about the calcification - reading your response I can only presume that the calcification is likely to be a result of the blockages in the kidney (Intraductal calculi ??).

I am hoping it is nothing too serious.

kind regards

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