The incidence and mortality from pancreatitis in Finland between 1970 and 1989 were studied and compared with the alcohol consumption in the country and with the incidence of liver cirrhosis and gall stone disease. Hospital discharge data were obtained from the Finnish National Agency for Welfare and Health, the causes of deaths from the Finnish State Statistics, and annual alcohol consumption from the Finnish State Alcohol Company. There were 56,353 hospital treatment periods because of pancreatitis. The incidence of pancreatitis discharges increased from 46.6 to 73.4/100,000/year. In men it increased from 59.1 to 113.4, but in women it remained unchanged (mean 35.0). The incidence of pancreatitis discharges correlated with the alcohol consumption in Finland (r = 0.78, p = 0.0001). The incidence of pancreatitis discharges correlated in men, but not in women, with the incidence of liver cirrhosis (r = 0.81, p = 0.0001). In women, but not in men, the incidence of pancreatitis discharges correlated with the incidence of gall stone disease discharges (r = 0.77, p = 0.0001). The incidence of discharges due to haemorrhagic pancreatitis and pancreatic abscess doubled in men and remained unchanged in women. Pancreatitis death rate decreased from 5.9% (men 4.8%, women 7.0%) to 2.6% (men 2.4%, women 2.7%).
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