Whenever a variety of terms exists to describe a particular disease process, it is usually because the clinical symptoms vary considerably from case to case. Thus the disease process which is characterized by intermittent or progressive destruction of pancreatic tissue, leading eventually to pancreatic insufficiency, has been variously termed chronic pancreatitis, chronic relapsing pancreatitis, acute recurrent pancreatitis, chronic pancreatitis with lithiasis, and chronic recidivating pancreatitis. Clinically the manifestations of disease processes included under these diagnostic terms may range from an initially asymptomatic disease to one with only occasional symptoms of abdominal pain, to an illness characterized by almost daily episodes of such pain. In advanced disease the clinical findings also include signs of an insufficiency of exocrine function of the pancreas resulting from the replacement of pancreatic parenchyma by fibrous tissue, as well as diabetes when islet destruction also occurs.
The great variations in clinical symptoms suggest the likelihood of