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Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker was already grabbing headlines for his star-studded May wedding to reality TV star Kourtney Kardashian when just one month later, his health suddenly plummeted. Friends, family, and fellow celebrities rallied with support and concern on social media, turning the musician's medical drama into front page news. Barker was soon diagnosed with "life-threatening" pancreatitis, and spent a full week receiving "intensive treatment" before finally being released from the hospital. Read on to learn the first symptom Barker experienced, and to find out which routine medical procedure was to blame for the crisis.
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Barker was hospitalized with pancreatitis in late June.
On June 28, Barker was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles by stretcher. Kardashian, his wife of one month, was reportedly by his side.
The cause for his sudden health scare was pancreatitis, a condition which occurs when the pancreas, an organ essential to digestion and regulation of blood sugar, becomes severely inflamed. In one in five cases, this causes life-threatening complications, including multiple organ failure.
"God save me," the star tweeted from the hospital, where he would spend the next seven days.
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This was his first symptom.
Barker began experiencing symptoms the day before he was admitted to the hospital, sources close to the star said. "It was pancreatitis," one source told People. "He was complaining of cramps." Another source told the outlet: "Kourtney was worried yesterday. They both were. Travis was suffering from extreme stomach pain and could barely walk."
Severe belly pain is one of the most common symptoms of pancreatitis, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. They note that the pain may travel to your back or chest, and may worsen after eating.
Other common symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, fever, rapid heart rate, low blood pressure, jaundice, and swelling of the upper abdomen. "The symptoms of pancreatitis may look like other health problems," they warn. "Always see your healthcare provider to be sure."
His symptoms began after this routine medical procedure, Barker says.
Barker later explained on Twitter that he developed acute pancreatitis after undergoing an endoscopy on June 27. "I went in for an endoscopy Monday feeling great. But [a]fter dinner, I developed excruciating pain and have been hospitalized ever since," the rocker wrote. "During the endoscopy, I had a very small polyp removed right in a very sensitive area, usually handled by specialists, which unfortunately damaged a critical pancreatic drainage tube. This resulted in severe life-threatening pancreatitis," he shared in a follow-up post.
Experts say serious complications of endoscopies and colonoscopies are rare. In particular, it is considered very uncommon to develop pancreatitis as a result of these procedures. "It would be an extremely rare complication," Avinash Ketwaroo, MD, a gastroenterologist at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, told The New York Times. "So rare that it's at the level of what we call case reports, which means it occurs perhaps one in every million colonoscopies."
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Barker is expected to make a full recovery.
About a week after being released from his week-long stay in the hospital, Barker and Kardashian were spotted on the beach in California. On July 2, Barker shared an update with fans via Twitter. "I am so very very grateful that with intensive treatment I am currently much better," he wrote.
Kardashian also expressed relief following her husband's recovery. "Our health is everything and sometimes we take for granted how quickly it can change," Kardashian shared via her Instagram stories. "I am so grateful to God for healing my husband, for all of your prayers for him and for us, for the overwhelming outpouring of love and support," she said. "I am so touched and appreciative. I am so so thankful to our specialists, doctors, and nurses at Cedars Sinai for taking such wonderful care of my husband and me during our stay."