Objectives: To examine the prevalence of abnormal pancreatic ductograms in patients with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) and to determine the clinical characteristics of those patients.
Methods: Pancreatic exocrine morphology was studied by endoscopic retrograde pancreatography (ERP) in 43 patients with IDDM, 12 patients with islet cell antibody (ICA)-positive non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM), and 22 patients with ICA-negative NIDDM.
Results: ERP revealed a significantly higher prevalence of abnormal pancreatic ducts (dilation and stenosis, tortuosity, obstruction, and intraductal calculi) in the patients with IDDM (17/43, 40%) than in the patients with ICA-negative NIDDM (2/22, 9%, p = 0.018). IDDM patients who slowly progressed to insulin dependency more than 13 months after the onset of diabetes had a higher frequency of abnormal pancreatic ducts (13/22, 59%) than those who needed insulin therapy within 12 months after the onset (4/21, 19%, p = 0.016). There was no difference in duration of diabetes between the two groups. ICA-positive NIDDM patients also had a higher frequency of abnormal pancreatic ducts (7/12, 58%) than ICA-negative NIDDM patients (2/22, 9%, p = 0.0074).
Conclusions: These results indicate that a high proportion of IDDM patients who have prolonged histories of non-insulin dependency with ICA suffer pancreatic exocrine impairment. A similarity between IDDM with a slowly progressive clinical course and fibrocalculous pancreatic diabetes seen in tropical countries also was suggested.