Chronic pancreatitis is usually caused by heavy alcohol intake and, in many studies, also smoking.
Heavy drinkers usually smoke, making it difficult to separate the effects of these 2 factors.
Dr Patrick Maisonneuve and colleagues studied the impact of smoking on the progression of nonalcoholic idiopathic chronic pancreatitis.
The researchers used data from 83 patients with idiopathic chronic pancreatitis in Switzerland, and from 83 patients in Italy.
| Heavy smoking was associated with the appearance of diabetes|
The research team studied the impact of smoking on progression of disease as measured by the appearance of calcification and diabetes using Cox regression models.
In both centers, the prevalence of smoking was significantly higher in patients with idiopathic chronic pancreatitis than in the background population.
In Italian patients, smoking increased the risk of pancreatic calcifications.
The team found that smoking also shortened the time to appearance of calcification.
Heavy smoking was associated with the appearance of diabetes.
The researchers observed that for those patients who never reported consuming alcohol, smoking remains a significant risk factor.
Dr Maisonneuve's team concludes, “In nonalcoholic idiopathic chronic pancreatitis, smoking is associated with disease progression as measured by the appearance of pancreatic calcification and, to a lower extent, of diabetes.”
“These findings were chiefly observed in patients who were older than 35 years at the time of onset of disease.”