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From Biology-Online Dictionary
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(Science: gastroenterology, surgery) acute or chronic inflammation of the pancreas, which may be asymptomatic or symptomatic and which is due to autodigestion of a pancreatic tissue by its own enzymes.

It is caused most often by alcoholism or biliary tract disease, less commonly it may be associated with hyperlipaemia, hyperparathyroidism, abdominal trauma (accidental or operative injury), vasculitis or uraemia.