Much controversy exists regarding treatment for the obscure pathogenesis of acute pancreatitis. Many patients will recover spontaneously regardless of the cause or the treatment, while others experience a fulminent course with multi-organ failure and resultant death. The merits of various tests have been explored and reviewed looking at sensitivity, specificity and cost, as related to the clinical setting. Patient care providers will be increasingly called upon to treat and appropriately refer patients with pancreatitis and its complications. Understanding treatment options and keeping current with evolving guidelines is imperative for the management of these patients.