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J R Soc Med. 1984 April; 77(4): 299–301.
PMCID: PMC1439738

Erythema ab igne in chronic pancreatic pain: a diagnostic sign.


Two patients with severe chronic pain of pancreatic origin are described. In both there was severe back pain and an area of erythema ab igne lay directly over the portion of the pancreas giving rise to the pain. In both patients therapy directed at these areas of diseased pancreas resulted in relief of symptoms. The presence of erythema ab igne on a patient's back at the level of T12-L2 should arouse suspicion of underlying pancreatic pathology, and this may be valuable in a disease with remarkably little to find on clinical examination. In one patient early obstruction of the pancreatic duct by pancreatic carcinoma caused distal chronic pancreatitis and back pain many months before the onset of obstructive jaundice.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • BLISS WR, BURCH B, MARTIN MM, ZOLLINGER RM. Localization of referred pancreatic pain induced by electric stimulation. Gastroenterology. 1950 Oct;16(2):317–323. [PubMed]
  • Finlayson GR, Sams WM, Jr, Smith JG., Jr Erythema ab igne: a histopathological study. J Invest Dermatol. 1966 Jan;46(1):104–108. [PubMed]
  • Shahrad P, Marks R. The wages of warmth: changes in erythema ab igne. Br J Dermatol. 1977 Aug;97(2):179–186. [PubMed]

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