Acute pancreatitis is an emergency condition that has interested the surgeon for many years. In spite of a large amount of study the results of treatment have not shown improvement in any degree comparable to that obtained in the case of many other abdominal diseases. From a study of the literature it is seen that the mortality rate varies between 40 and 80 per cent. During the last fifteen years, sixty patients with proved cases have been operated on at the Boston City Hospital. No report of an appreciably larger series has ever been published. This paper is based on a study of the literature and of these sixty cases.
The hypotheses as to the etiology of acute pancreatitis presented by different students of the disease vary considerably. There has been a stereotyped classification of the etiology which practically every author recognizes, but there is no clearcut idea as