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Pancreatic insufficiency is the inability of the pancreas to produce and/or transport enough digestive to break down food in the intestine and allow its absorption. It typically occurs as a result of chronic pancreatic damage - damage that may be caused by a variety of conditions. It is most frequently associated with cystic fibrosis in children and with chronic pancreatitis in adults; it is less frequently but sometimes associated with pancreatic cancer.
Pancreatic insufficiency usually presents with symptoms of malabsorption, malnutrition, vitamin deficiencies, and weight loss (or inability to gain weight in children) and is often associated with steatorrhoea (loose, fatty, foul-smelling stools). Diabetes also may be present in adults with pancreatic insufficiency.
Last Review Date: April 6, 2013