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June 17, 1974

Vanishing Pancreatic Calcifications A Nonspecific Finding in Chronic Pancreatitis

Author Affiliations

From the departments of medicine (Dr. Donowitz), surgery (Dr. Stein), and radiology (Dr. Keohane), Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, and the West Haven Veterans Hospital, West Haven, Conn.

JAMA. 1974;228(12):1575-1576. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230370057029

PANCREATIC calcifications, an accepted marker of chronic pancreatic inflammation, are most often associated with high intake of ethanol in this country and with protein malnutrition in India and the African countries. A decrease in the size of these calcifications or their disappearance has rarely been described.1 In the case described, change in pancreatic calcifications was related to the development of a pancreatic pseudocyst, and not to neoplasm as is sometimes thought.

Report of a Case  A 48-year-old, black alcoholic man first developed acute pancreatitis in May 1961. On admission, amylase level was 572 Somogyi units/100 ml (normal, less than 200), and lipase level was 6.8 Cherry-Crandall units/ml (normal, less than 1.5); levels of calcium, phosphorus, and fasting blood glucose were normal. A flat plate roentgenogram of the abdomen showed multiple calcific densities adjacent to the L1-2 intervertebral space, a finding consistent with chronic pancreatitis. An oral cholecystogram was normal.