Severe acute necrotizing pancreatitis is a disease that is caused by premature activation of pancreatic enzymes. Cytokine release contributes to systemic manifestations such as systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS), multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS), adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), and sepsis. Diagnosis is based on a history of abdominal pain, laboratory values such as serum amylase and lipase levels, and CT scan. Medical management focuses on fluid and electrolyte balance, antibiotic therapy, pain control, and decreasing systemic complications. Surgery is indicated when infectious pancreatic necrosis has been identified. This article addresses incidence and etiology; pathophysiology; clinical manifestations; diagnostics; and medical and surgical patient care management.

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