Hereditary pancreatitis: current perspectives.

Hereditary pancreatitis (HP) is a rare cause of acute, recurrent acute, and chronic pancreatitis. It may present similarly to other causes of acute and chronic pancreatitis, and often there has been a protracted evaluation prior to the diagnosis of HP. Since it was first described in 1952, multiple genetic defects that affect the action of digestive enzymes in the pancreas have been implicated. The most common mutations involve the PRSS1, CFTR, SPINK1, and CTRC genes. New mutations in these genes and previously unrecognized mutations in other genes are being discovered due to the increasing use of next-generation genomic sequencing. While the inheritance pathways of these genetic mutations may be variable and complex, sometimes involving coinheritance of other mutations, the clinical presentation of patients tends to be similar. Interactions with environmental triggers often play a role. Patients tend to present at an early age (prior to the second decade of life) and have a significantly increased risk for the development of pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Patients with HP may develop sequelae of chronic pancreatitis such as strictures and fluid collections as well as exocrine and endocrine insufficiency. Management of patients with HP involves avoidance of environmental triggers, surveillance for pancreatic adenocarcinoma, medical therapy for endocrine and exocrine insufficiency, pain management, and endoscopic or surgical treatment for complications. Care for affected patients should be individualized, with an emphasis on early diagnosis and multidisciplinary involvement to develop a comprehensive treatment strategy.

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