Thirty-seven patients treated for severe acute pancreatitis were investigated a mean of 6.2 years after the attack; 30 were found to be in good condition and 24 were working normally. Two-thirds of previously heavy drinkers had either reduced their intake considerably or become abstainers. The main complication observed on follow-up was diabetes mellitus, which affected 20 patients and required insulin treatment in nine. Of the remaining patients, four were taking oral antidiabetic agents and seven were on a strict diabetic diet. Before severe acute pancreatitis none had been diabetic. All patients who underwent resection of the pancreas developed diabetes. In 21 of 24 patients with over or imminent diabetes, pancreatitis had been primarily alcoholic in origin. Polyneuropathy, as diagnosed by clinical signs and/or neurophysiological tests, was observed in six patients, all of them heavy drinkers. It is concluded that patients with severe acute pancreatitis have a high chance of returning to normal activity and productive work. These results serve to encourage all those involved to persist with the exacting work involved in treating such patients.