Influence of obesity on the severity and clinical outcome of acute pancreatitis

Gut Liver. 2011 Sep;5(3):335-9. doi: 10.5009/gnl.2011.5.3.335. Epub 2011 Aug 18.


Background/aims: Obesity tends to be associated with increased mortality and morbidity in acute pancreatitis. However, in Asian populations, higher morbidity and mortality have been reported in patients with low body mass indexes (BMIs). This study was undertaken to evaluate the relation between obesity and outcome, and to investigate the occurrence of complications by overweightedness in acute pancreatitis.

Methods: The medical records of 403 patients with acute pancreatitis were reviewed retrospectively, and Ranson's scores, modified Glasgow scores, Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) II scores and computed tomography severity indexes were calculated. Patients were categorized by BMI for the analysis.

Results: When compared with normal patients (BMI 18.5 to 22.9), all categories with a BMI ≥23 had an increased risk of developing a severe form of acute pancreatitis (p=0.003) and all categories with a BMI ≥25 significantly predicted severity (p<0.001). Patients with class 1 obesity (BMI 25 to 29.9) developed significantly more systemic and metabolic complications.

Conclusions: Overweightedness and obesity were found to be associated with a higher risk of developing severe pancreatitis. Further studies are needed to establish the precise prognostic value of obesity in members of the population with low BMIs.

Keywords: Acute pancreatitis; Obesity; Overweight.