To determine the prevalence of pancreatitis and associated risk factors among heavy-drinking veterans.
At a large Veterans Administration Outpatient Detoxification Program (ODP) that systematically collects risk information, 1409 black and white male veterans with International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision codes for alcohol abuse enrolling in the ODP from January 2002 to December 2003 were identified. Among these patients, pancreatitis at any time (before the ODP admission or occurring through June 2005) was identified using International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision codes. Cases were verified by chart review. Logistic regression analyses were used for multivariable analyses.
Overall, history of smoking (89.6%) and current or past drug use (90.1%) were very common, whereas intravenous drug use (22.3%) was less so. Although 87 (6.2%) subjects had pancreatitis codes (acute, 50; chronic, 15; both, 22), chart review verified only 42 cases (acute, 29; chronic, 5; both, 8) for a 3% prevalence. Alcohol appeared to be the definite etiology in 39 of these 42 patients. In bivariate analyses, patients with pancreatitis were older, had more substance abuse admissions, reported a significantly heavier current alcohol use, and lower drug dependence (each P < 0.05). In multivariable models, alcoholic pancreatitis was associated positively with age (odds ratio, 1.08; 95% confidence interval, 1.04-1.12) and number of substance abuse admissions (odds ratio, 1.08; 95% confidence interval, 0.995-1.18; P = 0.06).
In this high-risk population of heavy drinkers, the prevalence of pancreatitis is at least 3%. Our study provides preliminary data regarding potential cofactors for pancreatitis in heavy drinkers.
From the *Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, College of Medicine, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences; †Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System; ‡Department of Epidemiology, Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences; §Department of Psychiatry, Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System; and ∥Department of Biostatistics, Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR.
Received for publication August 3, 2006; accepted January 29, 2007.
The work was done at John L. McClellan Memorial VA Hospital and University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR.
Portions of this manuscript were presented by the first author in fulfillment of requirements for the master of public health degree at the Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
This was presented as a poster at the American Pancreatic Association/International Association of Pancreatology Meeting; November 2006; Chicago, Ill.
Reprints: Dhiraj Yadav, MD, MPH, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, M-2, C Wing, 200 Lothrop St, Pittsburgh, PA 15213 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).