Background: Diagnosis of early chronic pancreatitis is a clinical challenge and hindered by the lack of a gold standard. Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) and the endoscopic pancreatic function test (ePFT) are the most sensitive morphological and functional methods in this setting. EUS-elastography allows for the quantification (strain ratio) of pancreatic fibrosis, and the dynamic evaluation of the main pancreatic duct compliance provides additional information. We developed a multimodal EUS-based approach for the evaluation of the pancreas by integrating these four methods in a single procedure.
Objective: We aim to describe morphological and functional pancreatic abnormalities in patients with clinical suspicion of chronic pancreatitis and inconclusive EUS findings by using the multimodal EUS-based approach.
Methods: This was a prospective, cross-sectional, observational study of patients with clinically suspected chronic pancreatitis and indeterminate EUS criteria of the disease. EUS criteria of chronic pancreatitis, quantitative pancreatic elastography, ePFT and compliance of the main pancreatic duct were evaluated in a single procedure.
Results: In total, 53 patients with 3-4 EUS criteria of chronic pancreatitis were included (mean age 39.7 years, 29 male). Strain ratio was abnormally high in all patients. Peak bicarbonate concentration was decreased in 43 patients (81.1%) and the main pancreatic duct compliance was reduced in 41 patients (77.3%). Some 34 patients (64.1%) had abnormal results at EUS, elastography, ePFT and compliance of the main pancreatic duct.
Conclusions: A multimodal EUS-based test for the morphological and functional evaluation of the pancreas is presented, which allows detecting mild pancreatic abnormalities in patients with suspected early chronic pancreatitis. The presence of abnormal morphological and functional evaluation of the pancreas could support the clinical suspicion of early chronic pancreatitis in the appropriate clinical setting.
Keywords: Pancreatic secretion; chronic pancreatitis; ductal compliance; pancreatic fibrosis; secretin.