State of the Art in Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency.

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Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) is defined as the maldigestion of foods due to inadequate pancreatic secretion, which can be caused by alterations in its stimulation, production, transport, or interaction with nutrients at duodenal level. The most frequent causes are chronic pancreatitis in adults and cystic fibrosis in children. The prevalence of EPI is high, varying according to its etiology, but it is considered to be underdiagnosed and undertreated. Its importance lies in the quality of life impairment that results from the malabsorption and malnutrition and in the increased morbidity and mortality, being associated with osteoporosis and cardiovascular events. The diagnosis is based on a set of symptoms, indicators of malnutrition, and an indirect non-invasive test in at-risk patients. The treatment of choice combines non-restrictive dietary measures with pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy to correct the associated symptoms and improve the nutritional status of patients. Non-responders require the adjustment of pancreatic enzyme therapy, the association of proton pump inhibitors, and/or the evaluation of alternative diagnoses such as bacterial overgrowth. This review offers an in-depth overview of EPI in order to support the proper management of this entity based on updated and integrated knowledge of its etiopathogenesis, prevalence, diagnosis, and treatment.
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CIE Terms
clinic relevance, diagnosis, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy, prevalence, treatment