Background: Chronic pancreatitis (CP) is a complex inflammatory disease with remarkably impaired quality of life and permanent damage of the pancreas. This paper is part of the international consensus guidelines on CP and presents the consensus on factors elevating the risk for CP. Methods: An international working group with 20 experts on CP from the major pancreas societies (IAP, APA, JPS, and EPC) evaluated 14 statements generated from evidence on four questions deemed to be the most clinically relevant in CP. The Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) approach was used to evaluate the level of evidence available per statement. To determine the level of agreement, the working group voted on the 14 statements for strength of agreement, using a nine-point Likert scale in order to calculate Cronbach's alpha reliability coefficient. Results: Strong consensus and agreement were obtained for the following statements: Alcohol, smoking, and certain genetic alterations are risk factors for CP. Past history, family history, onset of symptoms, and life-style factors including alcohol intake and smoking history should be determined. Alcohol consumption dose-dependently elevates the risk of CP up to 4-fold. Ever smokers, even smoking less than a pack of cigarettes per day, have an increased risk for CP, as compared to never smokers. Conclusions: Both genetic and environmental factors can markedly elevate the risk for CP. Therefore, health-promoting lifestyle education and in certain cases genetic counselling should be employed to reduce the incidence of CP.
- Risk factors