Endocrine pancreatic function in patients after acute pancreatitis

Hepatogastroenterology. Nov-Dec 2002;49(48):1707-12.


Background/aims: The incidence of carbohydrate tolerance disorders in patients after acute pancreatitis has not been clearly established yet. The aim of the study was to estimate the frequency of endocrine pancreatic function impairment in patients after acute pancreatitis and its correlation with acute pancreatitis etiology and clinical course.

Methodology: 82 patients (27 women and 55 men), aged between 28-65 (mean: 47 +/- 8.3), 1-7 (mean: 4.7 +/- 3.6) years after acute pancreatitis were evaluated. Control group consisted of 15 healthy volunteers. Oral glucose tolerance test with RIA insulin level was performed in all examined patients. Patients with any sign of chronic pancreatitis, based on clinical, functional (stool chymotrypsin test) and imaging (US and CT) findings, were excluded from the study.

Results: Impaired glucose tolerance was found in 4 patients (4.9%) and overt diabetes in 13 patients (15.8%) recovered from acute pancreatitis, which was not significantly different from those values in the local general population. Mean insulin values fasting and 30, 60 and 90 min after administration of 75 g glucose were significantly lower in patients after acute pancreatitis than in controls (p < 0.001). Endocrine pancreatic function impairment was found significantly more often in patients after severe acute pancreatitis clinical course (p < 0.0001), than in patients after mild pancreatitis. The frequency of impaired glucose tolerance and diabetes after acute alcoholic pancreatitis was 13 (36%), which was significantly higher (p < 0.05), than in cases of gallstone etiology (14%) and other causes (0%).

Conclusions: Pancreatic endocrine function impairment following acute pancreatitis is associated with the decreased plasma insulin levels fasting and after glucose stimulus. Overall, the incidence of diabetes mellitus in patients after acute pancreatitis is similar to the reported values for the general population in this area. Alcoholic pancreatitis is more often complicated with impaired glucose tolerance and diabetes mellitus as regards to other causes of pancreatitis. Endocrine pancreatic function impairment is significantly more common after severe than after mild acute pancreatitis.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Diabetes Complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus / diagnosis
  • Diagnostic Techniques, Endocrine
  • Female
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatitis / complications*
  • Pancreatitis / etiology
  • Pancreatitis / physiopathology*


  • Insulin