Reuters Health Information (2008-12-05): In alcoholics, cirrhosis and pancreatitis rarely coexist
In alcoholics, cirrhosis and pancreatitis rarely coexist
Last Updated: 2008-12-05 19:31:59 -0400 (Reuters Health)
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Although excessive alcohol consumption may be involved in liver cirrhosis and may also underlie chronic pancreatitis, other factors appear to influence which of these conditions develops in a particular patient, according to Spanish researchers.
As Dr. Luis Aparisi of University Clinic Hospital, Valencia told Reuters Health, "Chronic alcoholism may lead to liver cirrhosis or chronic pancreatitis. Despite sharing the same toxic factor -- alcohol -- the simultaneous occurrence of both in the same patient is extremely rare. Each patient can only suffer from chronic pancreatitis or liver cirrhosis, but not both of them."
Dr. Aparisi and his colleagues came to this conclusion after studying 140 consecutive alcoholic patients, 57 of whom had liver cirrhosis, 53 who had chronic pancreatitis and 30 who were asymptomatic.
In the October issue of the World Journal of Gastroenterology, they report that despite stringent evaluation, they were unable to demonstrate any overlap between alcoholic liver cirrhosis and alcoholic chronic pancreatitis in either clinical manifestations, imaging studies, or functional tests. They did, however, find an inverse correlation between pancreatic and liver function in patients with these conditions.
Thus, continued Dr. Aparisi, "our results suggest that other factors in addition to alcoholism are necessary to develop liver cirrhosis or chronic pancreatitis."
"Future investigations," he concluded, "will elucidate what other factors are involved and why a patient responds to alcohol by developing liver cirrhosis or chronic pancreatitis."
World J Gastroenterol 2008;14:6171-6179.