Incidence and prevalence of chronic pancreatitis (CP) are poorly known and prospective nationwide epidemiologic estimation has never been performed.
Aims: To estimate prospectively national incidence and prevalence of patients attending gastroenterologists for CP in France.
Patients and methods: Study was proposed to all of the French gastroenterologists (N=3215) of whom 753 accepted to participate (24% private, 40% hospital and 36% both). Were included all patients suffering from proved or suspected CP, from 04-2003 to 07-2003. Certain diagnostic criteria were pancreatic calcifications, ductal or histological abnormalities. For all of non-responder gastroenterologists, a tracking system was used (mail or by phone).
Results: A total of 456 gastroenterologists returned at least 1 case on 1748 patients. Median patient age was 51 years; sex-ratio was 5.07. Median duration between the first CP sign and the inclusion was 41 months. CP cause was alcoholism (84%), hereditary (1%), cystic fibrosis (1%), idiopathic (9%), other (6%). CP diagnosis was certain in 77%: calcifications (85%), ductal abnormalities (57%), and histology (8%). CP symptoms were: chronic abdominal pain (53%), acute pancreatitis episodes (67%), pseudocysts (40%), bi-liary tract compression (21%), diabetes mellitus (32%), pancreatic exocrine insufficiency (36%). Maximal annual incidence was 4,646 (crude annual incidence: 7.7 per 100,000; 12.9 in male; 2.6 in female) and prevalence was 15,832 cases (crude prevalence: 26.4 per 100,000; 43.8 in male; 9.0 in female).
Conclusion: New CP patients attending gastroenterologists are about 5,000 a year. CP prevalence is about 16,000 patients (in France: 60,400,000 inhabitants). Frequency of main complications is close to hospital series, confirming that results issued from these centers are not or a few biased.