Background/Aims: Several European studies have reported an increase in acute pancreatitis. Therefore, we decided to investigate whether acute pancreatitis in one area of Germany also displays changes in frequency, etiology, and severity over time. Methods: The study included 608 patients with a first attack of acute pancreatitis, all from Lüneburg County, northern Germany, admitted to the Municipal Hospital of Lüneburg between 1987 and 2006. Results: The age-standardized rate (world) per 100,000 inhabitants/year was 16.0 for men and 10.2 for women. Division of the study period into four 5-year segments revealed no increase or decrease in the frequency of acute pancreatitis nor did the etiology change. The severity of disease, however, decreased over the course of time, as shown by lower Ranson scores, a lower proportion of cases with necrosis or a severe course, and lower lethality. Other measures of severity remained unchanged. The decrease in severity was particularly marked in patients with alcohol-related pancreatitis who are apparently seeking hospital treatment earlier than used to be the case. Conclusion: In contrast to other European countries (Denmark, United Kingdom, The Netherlands, and Sweden), this study showed no change over time in the frequency or etiology of acute pancreatitis. There were, however, signs of a decrease in disease severity, and this aspect merits further investigation.
- Acute pancreatitis
- Alcohol-related pancreatitis
- Epidemiology of pancreatitis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism