An elderly man, not previously known to have chronic pancreatitis, presented with haematemesis and melaena which was endoscopically diagnosed as haemobilia. Retrograde cholangiopancreatography showed blood clot in both the common bile duct and the pancreatic duct and the computed tomographic scan appearances were those of gross calcific chronic pancreatitis. Despite active bleeding, it was not possible to demonstrate its source at angiography, thus precluding therapeutic embolization. Thirty six hours after commencing an infusion of somatostatin, repeat endoscopy showed no evidence of active or recent bleeding. The infusion was continued for 5 days during which time he had no further bleeding.