Background and aims: Pancreatic abnormalities are common in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients and represent a heterogeneous group of conditions that include acute pancreatitis, chronic pancreatitis, autoimmune pancreatitis and asymptomatic abnormalities. We sought to review the available evidence concerning the aetiology, clinical presentation, diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic conditions in IBD patients. Methods: A PubMed/Medline query was conducted addressing pancreatic disorders in IBD. Reference lists from studies selected were manually searched to identify further relevant reports. Relevant manuscripts about pancreatic disorders in patients with IBD were selected and reviewed. Results: Thiopurines and gallstones are the most frequent causes of acute pancreatitis in IBD patients. Thiopurine-induced acute pancreatitis is usually uncomplicated and self-limited. Some evidence suggests that chronic pancreatitis may be more common in IBD. Most cases are idiopathic, affecting young males and patients with ulcerative colitis. Autoimmune pancreatitis is a relatively newly recognized disease and is increasingly diagnosed in IBD, particularly for type 2 autoimmune pancreatitis in ulcerative colitis patients. Asymptomatic exocrine insufficiency, pancreatic duct abnormalities and hyperamylasaemia have been identified in up to 18% of IBD patients, although their clinical significance and relationship with IBD remain undefined. Conclusions: The wide spectrum of pancreatic manifestations in IBD is growing and may represent a challenge to the clinician. A collaborative approach with a pancreas specialist may be the most productive route to determine aetiology, guide additional diagnostic workup, illuminate the aetiology and define the treatment and follow-up of these patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-104
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Crohn's and Colitis
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • Crohn's disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • acute pancreatitis
  • autoimmune pancreatitis
  • chronic pancreatitis
  • exocrine insufficiency
  • hyperamylasaemia
  • hyperlipasaemia
  • ulcerative colitis


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