Chronic pancreatitis: A diagnostic dilemma

World J Gastroenterol. 2016 Feb 21;22(7):2304-13. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v22.i7.2304.


Typical clinical symptoms of chronic pancreatitis are vague and non-specific and therefore diagnostic tests are required, none of which provide absolute diagnostic certainly, especially in the early stages of disease. Recently-published guidelines bring much needed structure to the diagnostic work-up of patients with suspected chronic pancreatitis. In addition, novel diagnostic modalities bring promise for the future. The assessment and diagnosis of pancreatic exocrine insufficiency remains challenging and this review contests the accepted perspective that steatorrhea only occurs with > 90% destruction of the gland.

Keywords: Diagnosis; Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency; Malabsorption; Pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy; Pancreatitis, chronic.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Diagnostic Errors / prevention & control
  • Diagnostic Imaging* / standards
  • Humans
  • Pancreatic Function Tests* / standards
  • Pancreatitis, Chronic / complications
  • Pancreatitis, Chronic / diagnosis*
  • Pancreatitis, Chronic / diagnostic imaging
  • Predictive Value of Tests