Whenever he consumed alcohol, he would take huge amount at a time, despite advice from his family doctor to take alcohol in moderation. In the emergency room, he was found to be pale and dehydrated. He had tachycardia (heart rate 120 per minute), high blood pressure (150/110mmHg), diaphoresis and tenderness and gaurding in the epigastric and left hypochondriac region. Respiratory rate was mildly elevated (26 per minute), but there was no breathlessness. Oxygen saturation was normal. A diagnosis of acute pancreatitis was made and patient was shifted to medical intensive care unit for further management. In this essay, the life science patho-physiology of acute pancreatitis will be discussed along with behavioural science as applied to the care-taking nursing staff, including breaking bad news, with reference to the patient.
Sam is diagnosed to have acute pancreatitis. Inflammation of the organ pancreas is known as acute pancreatitis. Pancreas is an important gland located in the left upper and posterior aspect of the abdomen. It is both an endocrine and exocrine gland. As an exocrine organ, it produces various digestive enzymes essential for the digestion of protein, fat and carbohydrates. As an endocrine gland, it secretes the hormone insulin essential for glucose metabolism. While 80 percent of the organ is involved in exocrine function, only 20 percent is responsible for endocrine function (Gardner and Berk, 2010).
According to Al-Omran et al (2010), "acute pancreatitis is a common hypermetabolic, hyperdynamic disease process of variable severity that has multiple etiologies and creates a catabolic stress state promoting a systemic inflammatory response and nutritional deterioration." Any injury to acinar cells and impairment of secretion of zymogen granules can result in acute pancreatitis. Factors which contribute to acinar damage are gall stones, alcohol abuse and intake of drugs toxic to pancreas. Though it is unclear as to what mechanism triggers the