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High rate of acute pancreatitis in NZ

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 20/02/2017

New Zealand has one of the highest rates of acute pancreatitis in the world, according to a nationwide study.

Researchers also found that Maori and Pacific people are at more than double the risk of developing pancreatitis and post-pancreatitis diabetes than New Zealand Europeans.

The study, published in the NZ Medical Journal, looked at the frequency of inflammatory diseases of the pancreas (such as acute pancreatitis and chronic pancreatitis) and post-pancreatitis diabetes mellitus.

It showed that the New Zealand risk is twice that of Western Europe and has nearly doubled over the past decade.

Senior lecturer Dr Max Petrov, leader of the Auckland University-based COSMOS group, says the New Zealand rate is at the higher end of the global spectrum with an incidence of 58.4 per 100,000 people per year for acute pancreatitis.

He says recent evidence shows that nearly 40 per cent of patients develop new-onset prediabetes or diabetes after just one attack of acute pancreatitis.

The researchers found that Maori people have the highest incidence of acute pancreatitis reported in the world literature - 95.2 per 100,000 per year.

Maori and Pacific people are more than two to three times more likely to develop pancreatitis and post-pancreatitis diabetes mellitus than New Zealand Europeans of the same age and sex.

Dr Petrov says the incidence rates of acute and chronic pancreatitis, and post-pancreatitis diabetes mellitus, were determined using data from nearly three million individuals.

He says high quality clinical and epidemiological research on these diseases is of paramount importance for developing treatment strategies that would benefit more than 50,000 New Zealanders every year who develop pancreatitis or post-pancreatitis diabetes.

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