Fast Five Quiz: Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency

B.S. Anand, MD


May 04, 2020

Figure 1. Healthy pancreas.

Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency is most commonly associated with diseases of the exocrine pancreas and is a frequent late-stage manifestation of chronic pancreatitis. The exocrine pancreas retains a large reserve capacity for enzyme secretion; as such, fat digestion is not clearly impaired until lipase output decreases to less than 10% of the normal level.

A recent literature review found a high prevalence (62%) of exocrine pancreatic insufficiency among patients during first admission for acute pancreatitis. At follow-up, which was at least 1 month following discharge, the pooled prevalence of exocrine pancreatic insufficiency was 35%. An increased prevalence was also found among patients with severe acute pancreatitis versus those with mild acute pancreatitis.

Certain extrapancreatic conditions may lead to exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. These include celiac disease, Crohn disease, autoimmune pancreatitis, Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, and gastrointestinal and pancreatic surgical procedures.

Learn more about the pathophysiology and etiology of exocrine pancreatic insufficiency.


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