Background: This study was aimed towards understanding the current status of dietary therapy for patients with pancreatic exocrine insufficiency (PEI) in Japan and its alignment with Japanese recommendations for high-fat intake and concomitant high-potency pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy (PERT) by surveying treating physicians and registered dietitians.
Methods: The 19-item physicians’ online questionnaire collected data about the number of patients with PEI treated, methods used to assess PEI and nutritional status in patients with PEI, as well as provision of dietary guidance and details of treatment with PERT. The 10-item registered dietitians’ online questionnaire captured data about the provision of dietary guidance, including setting (inpatient or outpatient) and details of nutritional guidance provided to patients.
Results: Overall, 35 physicians and 23 dietitians completed the respective questionnaires. The primary cause of PEI in patients treated by physicians during the previous month was chronic pancreatitis (80.5%). Of 30 (86%) physicians who reported implementing dietary guidance for patients with PEI, less than half (43%) followed national guidelines and most (83%) implemented a low-fat diet. The use of PERT in recently treated patients with PEI was low. Amongst 11 (48%) dietitians who reported providing dietary guidance to patients with chronic pancreatitis and PEI, 7 (64%) recommended restricting fat intake in patients with uncompensated chronic pancreatitis. Dietitians overall were more likely to provide guidance about alcohol avoidance (91%) than smoking cessation (48%) to appropriate patients.
Conclusion: This survey suggests that additional educational efforts are required to align the management practices of physicians and registered dietitians with evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for Japanese patients with chronic pancreatitis and PEI.