Pancreatitis in children

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2003 Nov;37(5):591-5. doi: 10.1097/00005176-200311000-00017.


Objectives: To determine the incidence, etiology and outcome of pancreatitis at a regional children's hospital.

Methods: Chart review of all patients with pancreatitis seen during a 6 year period at the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. The diagnosis of pancreatitis required either a serum amylase or lipase >3 times normal or radiographic evidence of pancreatitis.

Results: Two hundred fourteen episodes of pancreatitis in 180 patients were documented. The most common etiologies were systemic disease (14%), trauma (14%), drug induced (12%), biliary tract disease (12%), infectious (8%), and idiopathic (8%), which made up 68% of the total cases. Eleven patients died, all from underlying systemic illnesses. The serum amylase and lipase were elevated in 82% and 83% of patients respectively.

Conclusions: Pancreatitis is more common in children than previously thought. Upon careful assessment fewer cases were found to be idiopathic than in previous series. The outcome of pancreatitis depends on co-morbid conditions.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain
  • Adolescent
  • Amylases / blood
  • Biliary Tract Diseases / complications
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Hospitals, Pediatric
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infections / complications
  • Lipase / blood
  • Pancreas / injuries
  • Pancreatitis / diagnosis
  • Pancreatitis / epidemiology*
  • Pancreatitis / etiology
  • Prognosis
  • Valproic Acid / adverse effects


  • Valproic Acid
  • Lipase
  • Amylases