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March 24, 1951


Author Affiliations


From the Gastrointestinal Clinic and the Departments of Medicine and Physiology of the Jefferson Medical College and Hospital.

JAMA. 1951;145(12):876-879. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.02920300016003

The diagnosis of diseases of the pancreas is difficult because the organ is obscurely located; is rarely viewed by roentgen rays; its secretions are difficult to obtain, and frequently the symptoms are so similar to those associated with other diseases that differentiation is impossible. Both history and physical examination are important in diagnosis, but they rarely permit one to draw definite conclusions even though a pancreatic lesion is suspected. The determination of blood sugar levels, the trypsin content and the amount of fat and protein digestion in the stool, the serum amylase level and the secretin test are additional diagnostic aids. An increase in the blood sugar level and a decrease in fat and protein digestion in the stool are usually found only in long-standing and far advanced diseases of the pancreas and are therefore of limited value. The search for more specific pancreatic function tests led investigators to study