Medical Definition of Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI)

Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI): a condition characterized by a deficiency of the digestive enzyme produced by the pancreas, leading to impaired digestion of food. Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency can occur in association with other diseases that affect the pancreas, like chronic pancreatitis and cystic fibrosis. The symptoms of exocrine pancreatic insufficiency are related to the defect in digestion and include abdominal pain, gas, diarrhea, and unusually foul-smelling stools. Weight loss and vitamin deficiencies can also result from EPI. Pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy (PERT) medications are the primary treatment.

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Last Editorial Review: 7/5/2016

REFERENCE: Kasper, D., et al. "Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine." McGraw-Hill Education/Medical. 19th edition. 2015

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