Benign pancreatic disease, including chronic pancreatitis, affects 5 to 24 million people in the US and in 2004 accounted for 445,000 hospitalisations and 881,000 physician visits. The incidence, prevalence, and mortality reported for chronic pancreatitis vary due to differences in study design, diagnostic criteria, and geography. Based on autopsy studies, the prevalence of chronic pancreatitis ranges from 0.04% to 5%. Overall incidence ranges from 2 to 14 cases per year per 100,000 people, and prevalence data (limited to a limited number of populations) ranges from 0.04% to 0.05%, which in the US would affect an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 people and cost an estimated $3.6 billion annually. Large population studies show similarities. One French nationwide survey reported an incidence of 8.3 per 100,000 people per year and a prevalence of 0.03% (16,000 of 60,400,000 inhabitants), whereas one Olmsted County Minnesota population study spanning from 1977 to 2006 reported an incidence of 4.35 per 100,000 people per year and a prevalence of 0.04%. In the only prospective study, the incidence of chronic pancreatitis in the Danish population was reported as 8.2 cases per year per 100,000 people and a prevalence of 0.03%. A meta-analysis of 14 studies suggested that the prevalence of chronic pancreatitis was 10% after a first attack of pancreatitis and 36% after multiple attacks. In Southern India, the prevalence of chronic pancreatitis has been reported to be 114 to 200 cases per 100,000 people. This is very high and is predominantly idiopathic/tropical pancreatitis. The first survey in Japan (using the diagnostic criteria of the Japan Pancreas Society), conducted in 2002, estimated that the prevalence of autoimmune pancreatitis was 0.82 per 100,000 people. This condition was most prevalent in men over the age of 45 years. In 1999, chronic pancreatitis was responsible for 3289 deaths in the US, ranking as the 235th leading cause of death. The age at presentation varies with aetiology. Hereditary pancreatitis has a peak age at 10 to 14 years, juvenile idiopathic chronic pancreatitis at 19 to 23 years, alcoholic chronic pancreatitis at 36 to 44 years, and senile idiopathic chronic pancreatitis at 56 to 62 years.
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