Acute pancreatitis can be very serious, even life threatening, but most patients can expect complete recovery.
Acute pancreatitis can become chronic if pancreatic tissue sustains damage and scarring occurs. About 5% of patients need long-term treatment. For people with chronic pancreatitis, this can mean a lifetime of ongoing pain, nausea, and other gastrointestinal symptoms. About half of patients with chronic pancreatitis develop pain that is severe enough to warrant treatment with a procedure to drain fluid, remove part or all of the pancreas, remove gallstones, place a stent to unblock the bile or pancreatic duct, or other.
Increased Risk for Pancreatic Cancer
Patients with chronic pancreatitis are three times more likely than the general population to develop pancreatic cancer.
Development of Diabetes
Over time, the pancreas may lose its ability to produce insulin, resulting in diabetes. In such cases, patients must take insulin in order to regulate their levels of blood glucose.