Hypothermia is listed in surgical texts as one of the rarer causes of acute pancreatitis.
In this study, researchers from Wales questioned selected consultants about their experience and examined the case-notes of patients admitted with hypothermia. They assessed the evidence for cause and effect.
The team questioned 31 consultants, who recalled only 5 cases of pancreatitis associated with hypothermia in a total of 317 consultant-years. In 2 of these cases, other etiological factors were primary.
Furthermore, using case-notes for 100 months of emergency admissions at a single hospital, the team identified 310 patients with hypothermia and 1153 with acute pancreatitis. No patients had a dual diagnosis.
|Of 310 patients with hypothermia and 1153 with acute pancreatitis, none had a dual diagnosis.|
|Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine|
In addition, the team determined that of the hypothermic patients, none had abdominal pain typical of acute pancreatitis.
The researchers found that in 43 cases serum amylase was measured. In 2 of these the enzyme was slightly raised, however both patients had experienced a cerebrovascular accident, a known cause of hyperamylasemia.
Dr Stiff's team concluded, "Considered alongside the weak evidence from previous studies, these findings offer negligible support for the idea that hypothermia is a clinically relevant risk factor for acute pancreatitis".