A historical retrospect on clinical and scientific acts for patients with pancreatic diseases at the Gastro Unit, Hvidovre Hospital.

Department of Gastroenterology and Gastrointestinal Surgery, Hvidovre Hospital has since the 1970s taken a leadership position in research, development, education, and treatment of acute and chronic pancreatitis. The units focus is endoscopy, since it is thereby possible with minimally invasive techniques to treat disabling and potentially life-threatening complications of the two diseases. 

In 2005, the unit as the first hospital in Denmark adopted endoscopic treatment of severe necrotizing pancreatitis. Until then, the only treatment option in this disease had been open surgery with associated high complication and mortality rates, even among otherwise healthy patients of young age. With the endoscopic method, the mortality dropped from average 20% in open surgery to 10%. As a consequence of the unit's achievements, most surgical departments have now abandoned open surgery in these patients. The unit has continuously worked to improve the endoscopic techniques to benefit more patients. 

Today, the unit has acquired a unique license to treat patients with the most severe forms of acute and chronic pancreatitis from Eastern Denmark, Greenland, and the Faroe Islands. The unit has educated doctors and nurses and has presented its research by lectures and in scientific journals. The unit is part of a Nordic research network investigating endoscopic therapies and has established a national and international collaboration with numerous partners. 

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