Endoscopic therapy is effective for patients with chronic pancreatitis

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2012 Jul;10(7):795-802. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2011.12.040. Epub 2012 Jan 13.


Background & aims: Endoscopic therapy (ET) frequently is used to treat patients with painful chronic pancreatitis (CP), but little is known about outcomes of patients for whom ET was not successful who then underwent surgery, or outcomes after ET compared with only medical treatment. We evaluated use and long-term effectiveness of ET in a well-defined cohort of patients with CP.

Methods: We analyzed data from 146 patients with CP who participated in the North American Pancreatitis Study 2 at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center from 2000 to 2006; 71 (49%) patients received ET at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Success of ET and surgery were defined by cessation of narcotic therapy and resolution of episodes of acute pancreatitis. Disease progression was followed up from its onset until January 1, 2011 (mean, 8.2 ± 4.7 y).

Results: Patients who underwent ET had more symptoms (pain, recurrent pancreatitis) and had more complex pancreatic morphology (based on imaging) than patients who received medical therapy. ET had a high rate of technical success (60 of 71 cases; 85%); its rates of clinical success were 51% for 28 of 55 patients for whom follow-up data were available (mean time, 4.8 ± 3.0 y) and 50% for 12 of 24 patients who underwent surgery after receiving ET. Patients who responded to ET were significantly older, had a shorter duration of disease before ET, had less constant pain, and required fewer daily narcotics than patients who did not respond to ET. Among the 36 symptomatic patients who received medical therapy and were followed up for a mean period of 5.7 ± 4.1 years, 31% improved and 53% had no change in symptoms; of these, 21% underwent surgery.

Conclusions: ET is clinically successful for 50% of patients with symptomatic CP. When ET is not successful, surgery has successful outcomes in 50% of patients. Symptoms resolve in 31% of symptomatic patients who receive only medical therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Endoscopy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatitis, Chronic / surgery
  • Pancreatitis, Chronic / therapy*
  • Pennsylvania
  • Treatment Outcome