Position statement on the definition, incidence, diagnosis and outcome of acute on chronic pancreatitis

T. Bouca-Machado, S.A.W. Bouwense, M. Brand, I.E. Demir, J.B. Frokjaer, P. Garg, P. Hegyi, J.M. Lohr, E. de-Madaria, S.S. Olesen, S. Pandanaboyana, J.B. Pedersen, V. Rebours, A. Sheel, V. Singh, M. Smith, J.A. Windsor, D. Yadav, A.M. Drewes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Acute on chronic pancreatitis (ACP) is a relatively common condition, but there are significant gaps in our knowledge on the definition, incidence, diagnosis, treatment and prognosis. Methods: A systematic review that followed PICO (Population; Intervention; Comparator; Outcome) recommendation for quantitative questions and PICo (Population, Phenomenon of Interest, Context) for qualitative research was done to answer 10 of the most relevant questions about ACP. Quality of evidence was judged by the GRADE criteria (Grades of Recommendation, Assessment, Development and Evaluation). The manuscript was sent for review to 12 international experts from various disciplines and continents using a Delphi process. Results: The quality of evidence, for most statements, was low to very low, which means that the recommendations in general are only conditional. Despite that, it was possible to reach strong levels of agreement by the expert panel for all 10 questions. A new consensus definition of ACP was reached. Although common, the real incidence of ACP is not known, with alcohol as a major risk factor. Although pain dominates, other non-specific symptoms and signs can be present. Serum levels of pancreatic enzymes may be less than 3 times the upper limit of normal and cross-sectional imaging is considered more accurate for the diagnosis in many cases. It appears that it is less severe and with a lower mortality risk than acute pancreatitis.Conclusions: Although the evidence base is poor, this position statement provides a foundation from which to advance management of ACP.(c) 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of IAP and EPC. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-150
Number of pages8
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2023


  • Acute pancreatitis
  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Consensus
  • In flammation
  • Pancreas

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