Acute pancreatitis: a prospective study on incidence, etiology, and outcome

Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2013 Sep;25(9):1068-75. doi: 10.1097/MEG.0b013e3283640fc8.


Background and aims: Prospective and population-based studies on the incidence of acute pancreatitis (AP) are lacking. Alcohol consumption has increased considerably in Iceland during the last decade. We aimed to determine the incidence, etiology, severity, and complications of AP and compare the results with a previous study on AP in Iceland.

Methods: A prospective population-based study of patients diagnosed with AP at the National University Hospital of Iceland during 1 year (2010-2011). Information on symptoms, etiology, and complications was registered.

Results: During the study period, 134 patients were diagnosed with AP, 78 men (58%), median age 57 years (interquartile range 42-71). Overall, 89/104 (86%) patients had their first attack of pancreatitis, yielding a crude incidence of 40/100 000 inhabitants/year. The major etiological groups were as follows: gallstones, 52 cases (42%); alcohol 29, (23%); postendoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatography in 12 (9.5%); medications in eight (6.3%); and idiopathic in 15 (12%). Alcohol was more often the cause in men (25 vs. 4, P<0.05) but the incidence of gallstone-induced pancreatitis was similar in men and women (26 vs. 27). Seven patients had severe complications, three had pancreatic necrosis, two had pseudocysts, and one developed renal failure. Another patient developed acute respiratory distress syndrome and was admitted to the ICU. No patient died of AP during the study period.

Conclusion: The incidence of AP has not increased significantly in Iceland in the last decade. Alcohol-induced pancreatitis has not increased proportionally despite increased alcohol consumption in Iceland. In a population-based setting, the vast majority of AP is of mild severity.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Iceland / epidemiology
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatic Pseudocyst / diagnosis
  • Pancreatic Pseudocyst / epidemiology
  • Pancreatic Pseudocyst / therapy
  • Pancreatitis / diagnosis
  • Pancreatitis / epidemiology*
  • Pancreatitis / therapy
  • Pancreatitis, Acute Necrotizing / diagnosis
  • Pancreatitis, Acute Necrotizing / epidemiology
  • Pancreatitis, Acute Necrotizing / therapy
  • Pancreatitis, Alcoholic / diagnosis
  • Pancreatitis, Alcoholic / epidemiology
  • Pancreatitis, Alcoholic / therapy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Renal Insufficiency / diagnosis
  • Renal Insufficiency / epidemiology
  • Renal Insufficiency / therapy
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / therapy
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult