Chronic pancreatitis prevalence in liver cirrhosis. Morphological and functional study.
Ductal pancreatic changes and functional exocrine assessment have been studied, in a group of 60 cirrhotic patients. In these patients the aetiology of cirrhosis was alcoholism in 35, hepatitis B virus-hepatitis C virus infection in 19, primary biliary cirrhosis in 2 and not determinable in 4. Eighteen patients (30%) showed an endoscopic retrograde pancreatography picture consistent with chronic pancreatitis (14 mild, 2 moderate and 2 severe). Mild pancreatographic changes were present in 7 alcoholic (20%) and in 7 non-alcoholic cirrhosis patients (28%). Moderate and severe abnormalities were present only in alcoholic cirrhosis (4 patients, 11.4%). No correlation was found between presence or pancreatopathy degree and Child-Pugh score or cirrhosis duration. Functional exocrine tests were abnormal only in severe endoscopic retrograde pancreatography picture. Mild type ductal lesions can mimic either age-dependent changes or chronic pancreatitis. The absence of impaired functional tests makes it impossible to discriminate between these two possibilities. These findings emphasize that in our cirrhotic group the prevalence of chronic pancreatitis (with a moderate or severe endoscopic retrograde pancreatography picture) is low (6.6%) and alcoholism is always present. Possibly, cirrhosis with secretion of high-volume low protein concentration juice confers a protective effect on the pancreas.
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