This attempt at a historical review of the treatment of acute pancreatitis summarizes the findings of studies carried out in decades long past and shows their impact on the therapy of this disease today. It identifies in retrospect the correct avenues of research and the blind alleys, and describes the ebb and flow of interest in various forms of management. Acquaintance with the work of previous investigators may prevent the unnecessary rediscovery of old principles of treatment. Not all of the studies discussed can be found with search engines: they come from the author’s personal library, collected over his 40 years as an active pancreatologist, and from the knowledge of the early literature bequeathed to him by his teachers and mentors.

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