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A multicenter study was initiated by the Chinese Chronic Pancreatitis Study Group to determine the nature and magnitude of chronic pancreatitis (CP) in China.Twenty-two hospitals representing all 6 urban health care regions in China participated in the study. The survey covered a 10-year period from May 1, 1994, to April 30, 2004. Multiple logistic regression was used for analyses.The analysis included 2008 patients (64.99% were men, and 35.01% were female; mean age, 48.9 years [SD, 15.0 years]). Chronic pancreatitis prevalence increased yearly from 1996 to 2003: 3.08, 3.91, 5.28, 7.61, 10.43, 11.92, 12.84, and 13.52 per 100,000 inhabitants. Chronic pancreatitis etiologies were alcohol (35.11%), biliary stones (34.36%), hereditary (7.22%), and idiopathic CP (12.90%). Clinical feature were pain (76.25%), maldigestion (36.11%), jaundice (13.40%), and steatorrhea (6.92%). Complications were pseudocyst (26.25%), diabetes (21.61%), bile duct strictures (13.40%), and ascites (1.74%). With regard to the diagnosis, the sensitivity and specificity of endoscopic ultrasonography and endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography were 88% and 93%, and 87% and 93%, respectively. Three hundred ninety-one patients (19.47%) received endoscopic therapy. Surgery was performed in 239 patients (11.90%).In China, the incidence of CP is rising rapidly; alcohol and biliary stones are the main causes. Endoscopic ultrasonography and endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography are highly sensitive and specific diagnostic methods.