Background: Population-based studies suggest that the incidence of first attack of acute pancreatitis (FAAP) is increasing and that old age is associated with increased mortality. Because nationwide data are limited and information on standardized mortality ratio (SMR) versus age is lacking, we wanted to describe incidence and mortality of first attack acute pancreatitis (FAAP) in Sweden.
Methods: Hospital discharge data concerning diagnoses and surgical procedures and death certificate data were linked for patients with FAAP in Sweden. Mortality was calculated as case fatality rate (CFR), i.e. deaths per 1000 patients and SMR using age-, gender- and calendar year-specific expected survival estimates, and is given as mean with 95% confidence intervals. Data are presented as median values with 25% and 75% percentiles, means and standard deviations, or proportions. Proportions have been compared using the chi square test, Poisson-regression test or Fisher exact test. Location of two groups of ratio scale variables were compared using independent samples t-test or Mann-Whitney U-test.
Results: From 1988 through 2003, 43415 patients (23801 men and 19614 women) were admitted for FAAP. Age adjusted incidence rose from 27.0 to 32.0 per 100000 individuals and year. Incidence increased with age for both men and women. At index stay 19.7% of men and 35.4% of women had biliary diagnoses, and 7.1% of men and 2.1% of women alcohol-related diagnoses. Of 10072 patients who underwent cholecystectomy, 7521 (74.7%) did so after index stay within the audit period. With increasing age CFR increased and SMR decreased. For the whole period studied SMR was 11.75 (11.34-12.17) within 90 days of index admission and 2.03 (1.93-2.13) from 91 to 365 days. Alcohol-related diagnoses and young age was associated with increased SMR. Length of stay and SMR decreased significantly during the audit period.
Conclusion: Incidence of FAAP increased slightly from 1988 to 2003. Incidence increased and SMR declined with increasing patient age. Although the prognosis for patients with FAAP has improved it remains an important health problem. Aetiological classification at index stay and timing of cholecystectomy should be improved.