Any severe acute pain in the abdomen or back should suggest the possibility of acute pancreatitis. The diagnosis is established by two of the following three criteria: (1) typical abdominal pain in the epigastrium that may radiate to the back, (2) threefold or greater elevation in serum lipase and/or amylase, and (3) confirmatory findings of acute pancreatitis on cross-sectional abdominal imaging. Pathologically, acute pancreatitis varies from interstitial pancreatitis, which is usually a mild and self-limited disorder, to necrotizing pancreatitis, in which the degree of necrosis may correlate with the severity of the attack and its systemic manifestations.

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