To estimate the incidence of alcoholic pancreatitis, a dependence questionnaire survey was administered to male members of the sobriety association in Japan.
Questionnaires asking about age, age at start of alcohol drinking, amount of alcohol consumption, duration of drinking, the initiated age of abstinence, medical history of pancreatitis, the age at diagnosis of pancreatitis, and the etiology of pancreatitis were sent to 7876 male members of a sobriety association in Japan.
Of 4120 members who replied to the questionnaire, 857 (20.8%) had a medical history of pancreatitis. Of these 857 members, 418 (10.1%) had been diagnosed with alcoholic pancreatitis, 32 (0.8%) as gallstone pancreatitis, and 407 (9.9%) with unknown etiology or etiology forgotten. A clear history of pancreatitis and information on habitual heavy drinking and the consumed amount of alcohol could be obtained from 373 of the 418 members diagnosed with alcoholic pancreatitis and from 345 of the 407 members with pancreatitis of unknown etiology. These 718 respondents were considered to be true alcoholic pancreatitis cases, with an extrapolated incidence of 9.1% (718/7876) to 17.4% (718/4120) cases of alcoholic pancreatitis in alcoholics in Japan. Alcoholics with a history of pancreatitis began drinking at relatively younger age and consumed a significantly greater amount of alcohol per day compared with 3113 alcoholics without a medical history of pancreatitis.
This survey suggests that the incidence of alcoholic pancreatitis in alcoholics is much higher than previously reported.