Autoimmune Pancreatitis

Autoimmune Pancreatitis


Auto-Immune Pancreatitis (AIP) is a chronic inflammatory condition caused by the body’s auto-immune response to the pancreas. There are currently 2 types of this condition known to medical science – Type 1 is IgG4-related pancreatitis, which affects multiple organs including the pancreas, liver, bile duct, lymph nodes, and kidneys. Type 2 is idiopathic duct-centric pancreatitis, which affects only the pancreas and is associated with inflammatory bowel disease.

Signs and symptoms

AIP can often present no physical symptoms and may go undetected for years. When symptoms are present, the patient will experience nausea, weakness, loss of appetite, unexplained weight loss, jaundice, dark urine and pale stools.

Causes and risk factors

As with all autoimmune conditions, it is unclear what triggers the body to attack its healthy tissue. Males over 60 are at high risk for Type 1 AIP and people above 40 with a history of Irritable Bowel Syndrome are at high risk for Type 2 AIP.


AIP can cause other complications in the body such as Pancreatic stones, Diabetes and Pancreatic insufficiency.


To diagnose AIP, the doctor will require an IgG4 serum test, Ultrasound imaging and CAT scans of the pancreas, and in some cases a biopsy of the pancreas to rule out pancreatic cancer.

Treatment and Surgical Interventions

AIP responds well to treatment with steroids. In cases with extreme jaundice, the doctor may insert a biliary stent before starting any treatment to drain the biliary duct. About 30-50% of cases will recur and require immunosuppressant treatment. The doctor will continue to monitor the liver, lymph nodes and kidneys for signs of damage as well.


The cause of AIP is unknown because of which there are no accepted preventive measures.


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