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Endoscopic Ultrasound Finding of Diffuse Echogenicity in the Pancreas, Is It Relevant?

Krill JT, Szafron D, Elhanafi S, Hussein MS, Patel K, Raijman I, Fisher W, El Serag HB, Othman MO. Endoscopic Ultrasound Finding of Diffuse Echogenicity in the Pancreas, Is It Relevant? Digestive diseases and sciences. 2021 Aug 4.

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BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Diffuse echogenicity of the pancreas, a commonly discovered finding on endoscopic ultrasound (EUS), is often of undetermined significance. The goal of this study was to characterize the clinical picture and pancreatic function in patients who incidentally present with this endosonographic finding. METHODS: This was a case-control study comparing consecutive adult patients with diffuse echogenicity of the pancreas found on EUS to those who did not have known pancreas disease. Demographic and clinical data were extracted from the electronic medical record. The primary endpoint was exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) defined as fecal elastase (FE-1) < 200  g/g. RESULTS: A total of 166 patients were included in this study. There were 89 patients who had diffuse echogenicity of the pancreas on EUS and FE-1 testing. There were 77 control patients with chronic diarrhea who did not have known pancreas disease but did have FE-1 testing. EPI was significantly more likely in the fatty pancreas group compared to the control group (47% vs 6%, p < 0.001). There was also a significantly greater proportion of smokers in the fatty pancreas group compared to the control group (42% vs 17%, p = 0.002). There were no other differences in baseline characteristics between the two groups, including prevalence of chronic pancreatitis by Rosemont classification. On multiple logistic regression analysis controlling for multiple variables, smoking (OR 2.26, 95% CI 1.15-4.43) and NAFLD (OR 3.99, 95% CI 1.09-14.70) had significant associations with EPI. CONCLUSIONS: This study found a significantly greater amount of patients who had diffuse echogenicity of the pancreas on EUS to also have EPI. This is compared to a control group of patients without known pancreas disease. This prevalence was found in the absence of a significant association with chronic pancreatitis on EUS based on Rosemont classification. Future controlled studies are required to further investigate this relationship.

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