Risk of Recurrent Pancreatitis and Progression to Chronic Pancreatitis After a First Episode of Acute Pancreatitis

Usama Ahmed Ali, Yama Issa, Julia C. Hagenaars, Olaf J. Bakker, Harry van Goor, Vincent B. Nieuwenhuijs, Thomas L. Bollen, Bert van Ramshorst, Ben J. Witteman, Menno A. Brink, Alexander F. Schaapherder, Kees Dejong, B. W. Marcel Spanier, Joos Heisterkamp, Erwin van der Harst, Casper H. van Eijck, Marc G. Besselink, Hein G. Gooszen, Hjalmar C. van Santvoort, Marja A. Boermeester*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND & AIMS: Patients with a first episode of acute pancreatitis can develop recurrent or chronic pancreatitis (CP). However, little is known about the incidence or risk factors for these events. METHODS: We performed a cross-sectional study of 669 patients with a first episode of acute pancreatitis admitted to 15 Dutch hospitals from December 2003 through March 2007. We collected information on disease course, outpatient visits, and hospital readmissions, as well as results from imaging, laboratory, and histology studies. Standardized follow-up questionnaires were sent to all available patients to collect information on hospitalizations and interventions for pancreatic disease, abdominal pain, steatorrhea, diabetes mellitus, medications, and alcohol and tobacco use. Patients were followed up for a median time period of 57 months. Primary end points were recurrent pancreatitis and CP. Risk factors were evaluated using regression analysis. The cumulative risk was assessed using Kaplan-Meier analysis. RESULTS: Recurrent pancreatitis developed in 117 patients (17%), and CP occurred in 51 patients (7.6%). Recurrent pancreatitis developed in 12% of patients with biliary disease, 24% of patients with alcoholic etiology, and 25% of patients with disease of idiopathic or other etiologies; CP occurred in 3%, 16%, and 10% of these patients, respectively. Etiology, smoking, and necrotizing pancreatitis were independent risk factors for recurrent pancreatitis and CP. Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II scores at admission also were associated independently with recurrent pancreatitis. The cumulative risk for recurrent pancreatitis over 5 years was highest among smokers at 40% (compared with 13% for nonsmokers). For alcohol abusers and current smokers, the cumulative risks for CP were similar-approximately 18%. In contrast, the cumulative risk of CP increased to 30% in patients who smoked and abused alcohol. CONCLUSIONS: Based on a retrospective analysis of patients admitted to Dutch hospitals, a first episode of acute pancreatitis leads to recurrent pancreatitis in 17% of patients, and almost 8% of patients progress to CP within 5 years. Progression was associated independently with alcoholic etiology, smoking, and a history of pancreatic necrosis. Smoking is the predominant risk factor for recurrent disease, whereas the combination of alcohol abuse and smoking produces the highest cumulative risk for chronic pancreatitis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)738-746
JournalClinical gastroenterology and hepatology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2016


  • Longitudinal Study
  • Pancreatitis Progression
  • Risk Factors
  • Chronic Pancreatitis

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