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Digestion. 1989;44(1):20-5.

Etiology and incidence of acute pancreatitis: a 20-year study in a single institution.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Göttingen, FRG.


Reports from various countries raise the question of changes in the incidence and etiology of acute pancreatitis. This study covers patients admitted with acute pancreatitis to a single university department of medicine between 1965 and 1970 and between 1980 and 1985. The absolute number of patients admitted with acute pancreatitis doubled, whereas the percentage of pancreatitic patients in the total population of admitted patients decreased by 38%. No firm conclusion can be made about an increasing incidence of acute pancreatitis from 1970 to 1985. However, the dominating etiological factor was no longer biliary tract disease but significantly shifted to alcoholism, whereas changes in the severity of the disease were not significant. There was a downward trend in mortality with mortality rates of 13 and 8.6% for the first and second period, respectively; however, because of the small number of patients this change did not reach the level of significance.

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