Referral to emergency

If any of the following are present or suspected, please refer the patient to the emergency department (via ambulance if necessary) or seek emergent medical advice if in a remote region.

  • haemodynamic instability
  • obstructive jaundice
  • severe abdominal pain
  • acute pancreatitis

Please contact the on-call registrar to discuss your concerns prior to referral.

For clinical advice, please telephone the relevant metropolitan Local Health Network switchboard and ask to speak to the relevant specialty service.

Central Adelaide Local Health Network

Northern Adelaide Local Health Network

Southern Adelaide Local Health Network

Category 1 (appointment clinically indicated within 30 days)

  • recurrent history of acute pancreatitis
  • recurrent history of gallstone disease

Category 2 (appointment clinically indicated within 90 days)

  • nil

Category 3 (appointment clinically indicated within 365 days)

  • chronic pancreatitis

For more on outpatient referrals, see the general referral information page.

Essential referral information

Completion required before first appointment to ensure patients are ready for care. Please indicate in the referral if the patient is unable to access mandatory tests or investigations as they incur a cost or are unavailable locally.

  • identifies as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander  
  • relevant social history, including identifying if you feel your patient is from a vulnerable population and/or requires a third party to receive correspondence on their behalf
  • interpreter required
  • past medical/surgical history
  • medications and allergies
  • use of medications causing pancreatitis (toxicity) for example angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, highly active antiretroviral therapy, diuretics, hypoglycaemic agents, oral contraceptives/hormone replacement therapy, statins, and valproic acid
  • presence of unresolved psychological or psychiatric pathologies
  • smoking/alcohol and other drug status
  • height/weight
  • body mass index
  • age
  • history of presenting complaint:
    • concerning features for example, nausea/vomiting, abdominal pain,
    • duration and frequency of symptoms
    • previous management trialled and efficacy
  • pathology:
    • complete blood examination (CBE)
    • electrolytes urea and creatinine (EUC)
    • liver function test (LFT)
    • fasting glucose
    • glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) if diabetic
    • c-reactive protein (CRP)
    • lipase/amylase
  • abdominal ultrasound (US)
  • chest-abdomen-pelvis with contrast computed tomography (CT)
  • relevant diagnostic/imaging reports including location of company and accession number

Clinical management advice

The initial approach to managing chronic pancreatitis in a community setting typically involves conservative measures including, lifestyle modifications, encouraging patients to make specific changes to their lifestyle can help alleviate symptoms and promote overall well-being. These modifications may include:

  • following a low-fat diet
  • reducing/abstaining alcohol consumption
  • smoking cessation
  • pain management including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and heat therapy
    using pancreatic enzyme supplements
  • accessing nutritional support

Clinical resources

Consumer resources