The aim of the present study was to investigate the exocrine pancreatic function after recovery from necrotizing pancreatitis. The exocrine function was analysed in 53 patients who had recovered from their first attack of necrotizing pancreatitis. In a group of 23 patients (Group A), three follow-up studies were performed between four weeks and 12 months after recovery from acute pancreatitis. A second group of 30 patients (Group B) was submitted to only one function test 18 months after recovery from acute necrotizing pancreatitis. Exocrine pancreatic function was observed after endogenous stimulation using the Lundh test meal. In Group A, after four weeks 74% of the patients had mild-to-moderate insufficiency, while 26% suffered from severe impairment of pancreatic function. Twelve months after recovery, only 16% of the patients showed a normal pancreatic response, while 84% still had pancreatic insufficiency of variable severity. In Group B, 13% of the patients showed a normal pancreatic response, while mild-to-moderate insufficiency was observed in 81%. Severe pancreatic insufficiency was measured only in 6% of these patients. After recovery from necrotizing pancreatitis persistent global or dissociated functional insufficiency is found in 80-85% of the cases. Individual pancreatic enzyme secretion varies quiet considerably during the course of recovery in the follow-up period.