Mary Phillips, a specialist dietitian, has led the delivery of the UK’s first set of guidelines for managing one of the distressing symptoms of pancreatic disease.
Pancreatic Exocrine Insufficiency (PEI) can occur in all pancreatic diseases, affecting those with pancreatic cancer, pancreatitis and cystic fibrosis.
Patients with PEI can experience upsetting symptoms that severely affect their quality of life, such as diarrhoea, weight loss and bloating.
Until now there has been a gap in practical advice and guidelines for healthcare professionals on the management of PEI, leading to patients not receiving the correct medicine or in some cases not being treated at all.
Mary said: “The treatment of PEI is a complex one, similar to balancing insulin levels for people with diabetes where different patients need different treatments and doses. But because PEI is not as common, the information isn’t as readily available as it is for diabetes.
“The guidelines have been written for clinicians but we really hope they’re going to make a massive difference to patients’ quality of life. We want to empower our patients to understand their medication and why they’re on it."
“If you have a slice of toast for breakfast, then lasagne and chips for dinner, you’re going to need to take a very different enzyme dose for each meal. It takes patients a while to get used to doing that and they sometimes need a lot of help and support to do so.”
Together with Rajesh Kumar, HPB Consultant at the Trust, and five other authors, Mary wrote the guidelines and led a review with a multidisciplinary panel of experts from six hospitals. The draft statements were presented to the Pancreatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, who's members voted on the recommendations and approved the guidelines. These have now been published by the British Medical Journal - Open Gastroenterology.
Louise Stead said: “I would like to congratulate Mary and Rajesh for their tremendous dedication, commitment and hard work over the last four years to publish the first set of guidelines in the UK to help PEI patients.
“The publication has already attracted international recognition and praise and will be welcomed by many in the healthcare world as a valuable tool with which to improve the lives of many people. Well done.”