Objectives: Previous research has indicated that obesity may be linked to the severity of acute pancreatitis. However, the association between abdominal and total adiposity as risk factors in the development of acute pancreatitis in a general population has not been studied.
Methods: A follow-up study was conducted, using the Swedish Mammography Cohort and the Cohort of Swedish Men, to examine the association between waist circumference and body mass index (BMI) and the risk of first-time acute pancreatitis. Severe acute pancreatitis was defined as hospital stay of >14 days, in-hospital death, or mortality within 30 days of discharge. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate rate ratios (RRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs), adjusted for confounders.
Results: In total, 68,158 individuals, aged 46-84 years, were studied for a median of 12 years. During this time, 424 persons developed first-time acute pancreatitis. The risk of acute pancreatitis among those with a waist circumference of >105 cm was twofold increased (RR=2.37; 95% CI: 1.50-3.74) compared with individuals with a waist circumference of 75.1-85.0 cm, when adjusted for confounders. This association was seen in patients with non-gallstone-related and gallstone-related acute pancreatitis. The results remained unchanged when stratifying the analyses with regards to sex or the severity of acute pancreatitis. There was no association between BMI and the risk of acute pancreatitis.
Conclusions: Abdominal adiposity, but not total adiposity, is an independent risk factor for the development of acute pancreatitis.