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P Kandasami, Hanafiah Harunarashid, Harjit Kaur
Correspondence: Dr P Kandasami, firstname.lastname@example.org
There is very little information in literature describing ethnic variations in etiologic and clinical outcome of acute pancreatitis in the Asian population. This study describes the demographic, etiologic and clinical course of acute pancreatitis among the three main races in Malaysia namely, the Malays, Chinese and Indians. One hundred and thirty-three consecutive patients were admitted for acute pancreatitis for the period January 1994 to July 1999 and they consisted of 77 males and 56 females with a mean age of 43.5 years (SD+/- 14.7). The racial breakdown of acute pancreatitis was: Malays 38 (28.6%), Chinese 19 (14.3%), Indians 75 (56.4%) and 1 (0.8%) patient was an orang asli. The incidence of alcohol association with acute pancreatitis was significantly increased in the males, while gallstone pancreatitis was principally a disease of the female. Alcohol was identified as the predominant factor associated with acute pancreatitis among the Indians (73.3%) and in contrast, gallstone was the commonest associated etiologic factor for the Malays and Chinese. No etiologic factor could be identified in a substantial proportion of the Malay patients (60.5%) when compared to the Chinese (36.8%) and Indians (35%). Severe disease developed in 25% of the cases reviewed but there was no difference in of the rate of severe pancreatitis in terms of ethnic groupings or etiologic factors. The overall mortality rate was 7.5% and the commonest cause of death was multi-organ failure. The study recognises that there are differences in the characteristics of acute pancreatitis among the three major races in the country and this divergence is primarily due to sociocultural habits.
Keywords: Acute pancreatitis, racial differences, Malaysia
Singapore Med J 2002; 43(6): 284-288