Man's pancreas calcified after 5 vodka shots a day for 15 years

Man's pancreas calcified after 5 vodka shots a day for 15 years
PHOTO: Stock Unlimited

Instead of emptying his stomach, a vodka lover in Pennsylvania, United States, vomited blood after having his usual tipple.

The 50-year-old man was taken to Mercy Catholic Medical Center's emergency department where he reported feeling pain in his upper abdomen for the past two months.

An endoscopy found stomach ulcers while a CT scan revealed that his pancreas had hardened with calcium deposits, doctors wrote in an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Thursday (Feb 2).

Photo: The New England Journal of Medicine

The pancreas is a long, flat gland in the abdomen which produces enzymes to help digestion and hormones to control blood sugar.

His love for hard liquor had become his undoing, as the man indulged in half a pint of vodka (237ml) every day for 15 years.

Alcohol damaged his pancreas and caused it to become chronically inflamed. This eventually led to a buildup of calcium deposits in the organ.

The high degree of calcification seen in the man's case was rare, a doctor who treated the patient told LiveScience.

With a weakened pancreas, the patient was prescribed enzyme supplements upon discharge from the hospital.

But not before he was enrolled into an alcohol abuse rehabilitation programme to kick his drinking habit.

minlee@sph.com.sg

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