An overview of Providence Health Care's services and resources for adults living with pancreatitis.


Pancreatitis is when the pancreas becomes inflamed, which causes severe abdominal pain.

The most common causes of pancreatitis are alcohol abuse and gallstones. Another common cause is high levels of fat called "triglycerides" in the blood.

About 80 per cent of pancreatitis cases are acute and last several days. Some cases are chronic and occur over many years.


Pacific Gastroenterology Associates
770 – 1190 Hornby Street 
Vancouver, BC, V6Z 2K5

Diagnosis & testing

The main symptom of pancreatitis is intense pain in your upper abdomen and sometimes your back.

If your health care provider at Providence Health Care (PHC) suspects you have pancreatitis, you will be referred for a blood test.

Blood tests measure the amount of two digestive enzymes in your bloodstream. These enzymes are called amylase and lipase. If these enzyme levels are too high, we will send you for imaging tests.

Imaging tests used at PHC to diagnose pancreatitis include:

Depending on your situation, we may also recommend other tests. One test might be a fecal fat test to measure how much fat is in your stool.

Treatment & management

If your case of pancreatitis is mild, you can treat it at home with pain medication, rest and lots of fluids.

If your case is more severe, you will need to be hospitalized at St. Paul’s Hospital, Mount Saint Joseph Hospital, or Holy Family Hospital.

At the hospital, you will receive a range of treatments. These include intravenous (IV) fluids to keep your body hydrated and pain management.

Your health care provider might make additional recommendations, including:

Support services

Providence offers a variety of services to support those we care for. The following services may be of use or benefit to you and your families.

Support for Indigenous Peoples

The Indigenous Wellness Liaison Team is here to support your health journey. Team members offer cultural support and healthcare advocacy. Learn more below or call them at 604-682-2344,62937 or email

  • Indigenous wellness services

    The Indigenous Wellness Team at Providence is available to support Indigenous patients and their families. We are here to coordinate culturally safe wellness supports and services.

Education & resources

Clinical trials & research

Advances in pancreatitis treatments are all thanks to medical research. While participating in research is a decision you should make for yourself in consultation with your care team, there is much activity in this area so please ask us about our research programs if you’re interested.

By taking part in research, you can help us all learn more about pancreatitis and find better ways to help people like you live and thrive with the condition. While you cannot assume benefit to yourself, your participation can make a difference in improving care for future patients.

The following clinical trials are currently enrolling volunteers. Please ask your care team for more information or contact the research team listed on each study or trial. For other information about research at Providence Health Care, please visit Providence Research.

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