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Strum Williamson B. M.D.
Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology: January 1995
Clinical Studies: PDF Only
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The role of alcohol in causing chronic pancreatitis is well-known, but the role of abstinence remains controversial and not well-understood. In this article, I examine the literature dealing with the effect of abstinence on chronic pain and the long-term outcome of chronic pancreatitis. A series of 50 patients with alcoholic chronic pancreatitis from my practice supplements the data. Alcohol consumption >70 g/day for 7 or more years is characteristic. Moderate to severe abdominal pain is the dominant symptom. When patients stop drinking, abdominal pain disappears in the majority, pancreatic function deteriorates more slowly, the death rate diminishes, and a normal life is often possible. If abdominal pain continues after abstinence and the pancreatic duct remains dilated, a lateral pancreatojejunostomy helps most patients. In many patients not suitable for surgery, pain resolves with time.

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