Epidemiology of chronic pancreatitis: Burden of the disease and consequences

Philippe Lévy, Enrique Domínguez-Muñoz, Clem Imrie, Matthias Löhr, Patrick Maisonneuve

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The epidemiology of chronic pancreatitis (CP) is incompletely understood. A number of difficulties exist in estimating the prevalence and incidence of CP. Long-term follow-up is often problematic, especially in chronic alcoholics, and obtaining a formal and standardised diagnosis can take years. The available studies are reasonably consistent in their estimation of the incidence of CP but few studies have attempted to estimate prevalence. Although life expectancy in CP is diminished compared with control populations, median survival lies in the range of 15–20 years. Such a survival would suggest a prevalence of CP rather higher than that determined from the survey studies. A recent epidemiological study in France found an annual incidence of 7.8 per 100,000. Assuming a survival of 15–20 years, the annual prevalence should be between 120 to 143 per 100,000. Overall, our understanding of the epidemiology of CP is poor compared with other illnesses. We consider that both prevalence and the rate of pancreatic insufficiency and of CP are currently underestimated. There is a distinct need for more studies to remedy this lack of knowledge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-354
Number of pages10
JournalUnited European Gastroenterology Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Epidemiology
  • Pancreatic exocrine insufficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Gastroenterology


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