Definition of Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI)

Reviewed on 3/29/2021

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.


Pancreatitis is inflammation of an organ in the abdomen called the pancreas. See Answer
Kasper, D., et al. "Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine." McGraw-Hill Education/Medical. 19th edition. 2015

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