The usefulness and accuracy rate of endoscopic ultrasonography (EUS) in the diagnosis of chronic pancreatitis (CP) were prospectively evaluated in 81 patients with suspected pancreatic disease. All underwent EUS, abdominal ultrasonography (AUS), and computed tomography (CT), and endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) was performed in 55 of the cases. The diagnosis of CP was established in 44 patients (CP group) including 24 with a calcified form. No pancreatic disease was observed in 18 patients (control group), and 19 patients had a pancreatic tumor. In the CP group AUS was less accurate than EUS in visualizing the pancreas, performances of CT scan being identical to EUS in this respect. A good correlation was observed between EUS and ERCP for visualization and measurement of the Wirsung duct. The most significant changes observed by EUS in the CP group were dilatation of the main pancreatic duct, heterogeneous echogenicity of the pancreatic parenchyma, and cysts < 20 mm in size even in noncalcified CP or with normal pancreatograms. Sensitivity of EUS for diagnosis of CP was 88% (AUS, 58%; ERCP, 74%; CT scan, 75%), the specificity being 100% for ERCP and EUS, 95% for CT scan, and 75% for AUS. The good performances of EUS allow early diagnosis of CP in symptomatic patients since heterogeneous echogenicity of the pancreatic parenchyma seems to be almost specifically associated with the disease.