We aimed to evaluate the potential relation between the incidence of (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) acute pancreatitis (AP) and alcohol consumption in the general population, and whether the occurrence of AP shows any seasonal variation, particularly in relation to periods with expected increased alcohol consumption.
All patients with first-time AP between 2003 and 2012 in a well-defined area in Sweden were retrospectively identified. Data on AP aetiology (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and severity were registered. Data on annual alcohol sales as well as on self-reported alcohol consumption were obtained.
In total, 1457 AP patients were included (83% non-alcoholic AP, 17% alcoholic AP). The overall AP incidence showed increasing time trends for women and men (P < 0.05), but there were no significant changes in the incidence of alcoholic AP, in either sex (P > 0.05). Alcohol sales during the study period decreased (P = 0.002), mainly due to decreased sales of spirits (P = 0.001) and beer (P = 0.002), while self-reported alcohol consumption remained stable for women (P > 0.05) and decreased for men (P = 0.022). Neither alcohol sales nor consumption was related to the time trends of AP (P > 0.05 for all). No significant differences were found in the occurrence of AP among different seasons of the year or between holidays associated with higher alcohol consumption compared to periods before and after these holidays (P > 0.05 for all).
Changes in alcohol consumption in the general population do not appear to be related to changes in the incidence of AP and there are no significant seasonal differences in the occurrence of AP in Sweden.
The incidence of acute pancreatitis (AP) is increasing, and alcohol is still recognized as one of the most common causes. In this study, however, we could not ascertain any clear relations between the sales and consumption of alcohol in the general population and the incidence of alcoholic or non-alcoholic AP.