Pancreas divisum: congenital anatomic variant or anomaly? Contribution of endoscopic retrograde dorsal pancreatography

Gastroenterology. 1985 Nov;89(5):951-8. doi: 10.1016/0016-5085(85)90193-3.


The relationship between pancreas divisum and pancreatic disease has been studied in a series of 304 patients. This congenital anatomic variant, consisting of a separate pancreatic ductal system, was diagnosed by endoscopic pancreatography and dorsal duct opacification was achieved in 97 of these patients. This anatomic variation was observed with the same frequency in cases of pancreatitis (acute and chronic) (6.9%) and in the series of patients investigated by endoscopic pancreatography taken as a whole (5.7%). Moreover, incidences of pancreatic disease in patients with and without pancreas divisum were not statistically different when compared. These results show that pancreas divisum should not be regarded as an etiologic factor in pancreatitis but should be considered as a coincidental anatomic variant encountered in nearly 10% of the population. The results obtained herein do not support the hypothesis that stenosis of the accessory papilla occurs frequently in cases of pancreas divisum. We conclude that no further therapy should be systematically proposed for patients with pancreas divisum and pancreatitis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biliary Tract Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Cholangiopancreatography, Endoscopic Retrograde / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreas / abnormalities*
  • Pancreas / diagnostic imaging
  • Pancreatic Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Pancreatic Diseases / etiology*
  • Pancreatic Ducts / abnormalities*
  • Pancreatic Ducts / diagnostic imaging
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging