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This study aims to evaluate prospectively the safety and efficacy of extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) in Chinese patients.A total of 214 patients with painful chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic stones who underwent ESWL followed by endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography from March 2011 to February 2012 in Changhai Hospital were enrolled. The main pancreatic duct clearance rate and complications were recorded prospectively. Symptoms, weight, quality of life, and pancreatic function were assessed before and after ESWL and endotherapy.A total of 473 ESWL procedures were performed in 214 patients. Stones were fragmented in all cases. Complete clearance of main pancreatic duct stones and successful endoscopic decompression were achieved in 155 (72.4%) and 188 (90.8%) of 214 patients, respectively. Complications were observed after 20 sessions (20 of 473, 4.23%). Follow-up (n = 195) after 18.5 ± 3.3 months showed that complete and partial pain relief were achieved in 71.3% and 24.0% of the patients, respectively. The scores for the quality of life (5.8 ± 1.7 vs 8.1 ± 1.2, P < 0.05) and mental health from the Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form General Health Survey questionnaire (62.2 ± 21.5 vs 68.5 ± 16.4, P < 0.05) improved after ESWL.Thus, ESWL is a safe and effective method to treat Chinese patients with pancreatic stones. This procedure can significantly improve the success rate of endotherapy.