Electrocardiographic abnormalities in patients with acute pancreatitis

Alberto Rubio-Tapia, Jorge García-Leiva, Enrique Asensio-Lafuente, Guillermo Robles-Díaz, Florencia Vargas-Vorácková

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Background: Electrocardiographic abnormalities may be associated with acute pancreatitis (AP). Goals: To describe the electrocardiographic disturbances present in patients with AP and to assess differences in electrolyte and pancreatic enzyme levels among patients with and without these abnormalities. Study: Fifty-one consecutive patients with AP and without pre-existing heart disease underwent a standard 12-lead electrocardiogram (EKG) and a serum electrolyte profile. EKG abnormalities were summarized in terms of frequencies, means, and standard deviations. Electrolyte and enzyme levels were summarized as medians. Differences were analyzed using the Mann-Whitney U test. Results: Twenty-eight patients (55%) had an abnormal EKG. Non-specific changes of repolarization (20%), sinus tachycardia (12%), and left anterior hemiblock (10%) were the most frequent disturbances. Patients with sinus tachycardia had lower levels of phosphorus (2.3 vs. 3.4 mEq/L, P < 0.004) and calcium (8.4 vs. 9.1 mg/dL, P < 0.02). A tendency to higher levels of potassium and lower levels of phosphorus was found in patients with sinus tachycardia and nonspecific changes of repolarization, respectively. No differences were found in amylase, pancreatic amylase, or lipase among patients with normal and abnormal EKG. Conclusions: More than 50% of the patients with AP had EKG abnormalities, and these changes could be related to electrolyte alterations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)815-818
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of clinical gastroenterology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Oct 2005


  • Acute pancreatitis
  • Electrocardiogram
  • Repolarization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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