Acute pancreatitis is a potentially fatal disease. To ameliorate the course of the disease and to prevent a fatal outcome it would be of importance to know more about its etiology and epidemiology. At present, several factors are thought to play an etiological role in the development of acute pancreatitis; however, not all of them have thus far been established as significant and some may only cause pancreatitis when acting with others. Indeed, in many cases of acute pancreatitis, combinations of factors are assumed to be interacting. To know more about the epidemiology of the disease in different countries and races would perhaps give an insight into the development of acute pancreatitis under special conditions. More information about both the etiology and epidemiology of acute pancreatitis could help us to either prevent the disease or, once it has been established, to use therapeutic measures more selectively.
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