Medical Definition of Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI)

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

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.

Reviewed on 12/21/2018

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

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