Pancreatic calcifications are particularly frequent in patients with severe pancreatic insufficiency and long-lasting chronic pancreatitis. To clarify whether calcifications point to a more severe form of the disease, irrespective of its duration, we have retrospectively analyzed patients with chronic pancreatitis submitted to the secretin-cerulein test in our center over a six-year period. Out of 120 patients, calcifications were found in 55. Higher alcohol intake and longer duration of the disease were found in patients with calcifications, compared with patients without calcifications (p less than 0.001). In both groups, lipase and chymotrypsin were more severely impaired than bicarbonate; a greater reduction of pancreatic exocrine function was found in patients with calcifications, compared to those without (p less than 0.001, Mann-Whitney U-test). When the patients were classified according to the duration of the disease or the severity of exocrine function impairment, higher percentages of patients with calcifications were found in the classes with more advanced disease. A log-linear analysis showed that the prevalence of calcifications was associated with pancreatic function impairment, even within the same class of duration of the disease. It is likely that calcifications mark more severe forms of chronic pancreatitis, even in the early phases of the disease.