Management of childhood pancreatic disorders: a multidisciplinary approach

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2003 Feb;36(2):206-12. doi: 10.1097/00005176-200302000-00009.


Introduction: Data on therapeutic endoscopy and radiologic interventions for the management of childhood pancreatic disorders are relatively limited. This study focuses on the multidisciplinary approach to the management of pancreatitis in children.

Patients and methods: Children with pancreatic disorders were studied from January 1992 to May 2001. Acute pancreatitis (AP) was diagnosed by clinical evaluation, serum amylase more than three times normal, and morphologic abnormalities of the pancreas on imaging. Children with recurrent abdominal pain, pancreatic calcification or ductal stones on imaging, and pancreatic ductal changes on endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) were diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis (CP). Patients were treated by gastroenterologists, surgeons, and interventional radiologists. Pancreatic exocrine insufficiency was diagnosed in appropriate settings.

Results: Fifteen children--6 with AP (posttrauma, 3; gallstone disease, 1; and viral, 1), 7 with CP, and 2 with pancreatic exocrine insufficiency--were diagnosed. Local complications observed in children with AP included pseudocyst in three, and infected acute fluid collection, right-sided pleural effusion, and ascites in one patient each. Complications of AP were managed with percutaneous catheter drainage (n = 3; pseudocyst, 2; infected fluid collection, 1), additional pancreatic duct stenting (n = 2), surgical drainage (n = 1), and octreotide for pleural effusion (n = 1). Signs of CP included abdominal pain (n = 7), obstructive jaundice resulting from lower common bile duct stricture (n = 2), and bleeding from gastroduodenal artery pseudoaneurysm (n = 1). Pancreatic duct stenting relieved pain in one patient, and steel coil embolization arrested bleeding from the pseudoaneurysm. Common bile duct strictures were managed by surgical bypass (n = 2), one of which required preoperative endoscopic bile duct stenting for management of cholangitis. Two other patients with CP required no intervention.

Conclusion: A multidisciplinary approach of radiologic and endoscopic interventions and surgery are complimentary to each other in achieving successful outcomes of complicated childhood pancreatitis.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Amylases / blood
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cholangiopancreatography, Endoscopic Retrograde
  • Chronic Disease
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Drainage
  • Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency / diagnosis
  • Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Pancreas / diagnostic imaging
  • Pancreas / pathology*
  • Pancreatic Cyst / diagnostic imaging
  • Pancreatic Diseases / diagnosis
  • Pancreatic Diseases / surgery
  • Pancreatic Diseases / therapy
  • Pancreatic Ducts / diagnostic imaging
  • Pancreatic Pseudocyst / diagnostic imaging
  • Pancreatitis / diagnosis*
  • Pancreatitis / surgery
  • Pancreatitis / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography


  • Amylases