BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Chronic pancreatitis (CP) is a disabling disease characterised by abdominal pain, and various pancreatic and extra-pancreatic complications. We investigated the interactions between pain characteristics (i.e. pain severity and its pattern in time), complications, and quality of life (QOL) in patients with CP.
METHODS: This was a cross-sectional study of 106 patients with CP conducted at two North European tertiary medical centres. Detailed information on clinical patient characteristics was obtained from interviews and through review of the individual patient records. Pain severity scores and pain pattern time profiles were extracted from the modified brief pain inventory short form and correlated to QOL as assessed by the EORTC QLQ-C30 questionnaire. Interactions with exocrine and endocrine pancreatic insufficiency, as well as pancreatic and extra-pancreatic complications were analysed using regression models.
RESULTS: Pain was the most prominent symptom in our cohort and its severity was significantly correlated with EORTC global health status (r = -0.46; P < 0.001) and most functional and symptom subscales. In contrast the patterns of pain in time were not associated with any of the life quality subscales. When controlling for interactions from exocrine and endocrine pancreatic insufficiency no effect modifications were evident (P = 0.72 and P = 0.85 respectively), while the presence of pancreatic and extra-pancreatic complications was associated with an almost 15% decrease in life quality (P = 0.004).
CONCLUSIONS: Pain severity and disease related complications significantly reduce life quality in patients with CP. This information is important in order to design more accurate and clinical meaningful endpoints in future outcome trials.