Predictors of severity and necrosis in acute pancreatitis

Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 2004 Dec;33(4):871-90. doi: 10.1016/j.gtc.2004.07.004.


C-reactive protein remains the single standard biochemical marker for predicting the severity of AP. Because the combination of clinical-physiological scores and CRP provide good information at 48 hours, research has focused on the predictive ability of various markers when applied in the initial 24 hours after admission to the hospital. After detailed review of the literature, the authors conclude that there is no single tool that serves as the optimal predictor of severity. There are, however, data that support the use of certain tests to improve upon the clinician's early predictive ability on the subsequent course of AP. These include an APACHE II score greater than 7 and IL-6 at the time of admission, and urine TAP, urine trypsinogen-2, and serum PMN elastase at 24 hours (Table 4). These markers only will be able to help the clinician's predictive ability if they can be performed locally and if the results can be available ina timely manner. Future research should focus on promising markers such as procalcitonin, IL-8, IL-I ra, sTNFR, CAPAP, PLA-2, novel markers, and the combined use of more than one marker. The conventional research approach in predicting severity used in the last 15 years has limitations and appears to have reached its maximal potential. Novel conceptions and approaches, such as identification of genetic polymorphisms that predispose to severe course and complications of AP or other approaches are needed for a quantum step forward.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Cytokines / blood
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / blood
  • Multiple Organ Failure / physiopathology
  • Necrosis
  • Pancreatitis / blood*
  • Pancreatitis / genetics
  • Pancreatitis / pathology*
  • Pancreatitis / physiopathology
  • Severity of Illness Index*


  • Biomarkers
  • Cytokines