Most people with acute pancreatitis recover without experiencing any further problems. But those with severe acute pancreatitis can develop serious complications.


Sometimes, sacs of fluid, called pseudocysts, can develop on the surface of the pancreas in people with acute pancreatitis.

These can cause bloating, indigestion and dull tummy pain. They often disappear on their own but can sometimes get infected and may need to be drained.

Pancreatic necrosis and infection

Sometimes people with severe acute pancreatitis can develop a complication where the pancreas loses its blood supply. This can cause some of the tissue of the pancreas to die (necrosis).

When this happens, the pancreas can become infected, which can spread into the blood (sepsis) and cause organ failure.

People with necrosis and an infection may need injections of antibiotics and surgery to remove the dead tissue.

This is a very serious complication that needs treating, and it can be fatal.

Chronic pancreatitis

If you keep getting acute pancreatitis, it may eventually permanently damage your pancreas.

This is called chronic pancreatitis and is a long-term condition that can seriously affect your quality of life.

Page last reviewed: 24 May 2022
Next review due: 24 May 2025