Acute pancreatitis is an inflammatory disease of the pancreas. Acute abdominal pain is the most common symptom, and increased concentrations of serum amylase and lipase confirm the diagnosis. Pancreatic injury is mild in 80% of patients, who recover without complications. The remaining patients have a severe disease with local and systemic complications. Gallstone migration into the common bile duct and alcohol abuse are the most frequent causes of pancreatitis in adults. About 15-25% of pancreatitis episodes are of unknown origin. Treatment of mild disease is supportive, but severe episodes need management by a multidisciplinary team including gastroenterologists, interventional radiologists, intensivists, and surgeons. Improved understanding of pathophysiology and better assessments of disease severity should ameliorate the management and outcome of this complex disease.