Acute Pancreatitis in Crohn's Disease

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Pancreatitis as an extraintestinal manifestation of Crohn's disease (CD) is controversial. We review the episodes of acute pancreatitis in patients with CD. Of 852 patients, 12 developed clinically overt pancreatitis, reparesenting a frequency of 1.4% in a follow-up period of 10 years. In 10 patients, common causes of pancreatitis were excluded. In 2 patients, drug-induced disease (azathioprine, sulfasalazine) could not be ruled out. Recurrence of pancreatitis was observed in only 2 patients. Younger patients and those with active disease seemed more at risk for development of pancreatitis. If prednisolone was needed for treatment of active CD, no adverse effect was observed for the pancreatitis. Along with the clinical features, we studied autoantibodies against exocrine pancreas; the incidence of autoantibodies in patients with pancreatitis was the same as in the controls who did not develop pancreatic abnormalities. This does not support the hypothesis that acute pancreatitis in CD is associated with the formation of pancreatic autoantibodies.

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