A quantitative estimation of plasma methaemalbumin can be useful. In pancreatitis, it usually indicates severe and haemorrhagic disease, and is thus of prognostic importance, as well as indicating the need for the full therapeutic regime for conservative management of the disease.
It may be helpful diagnostically in some patients with pancreatitis in whom it remains elevated after the serum amylase has returned to normal.
Raised levels may indicate laparotomy in patients in whom the diagnosis of pancreatitis is considered but who are not responding to conservative measures. Such patients may occasionally be suffering from intestinal infarction or other surgically remediable condition.
However, it has been found that the level of methaemalbumin in the plasma may be raised above the upper limit of the normal range of 5·5 mg% in occasional cases of gastrointestinal bleeding and soft tissue trauma and is not always raised in haemorrhagic pancreatitis.
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