Aim: To identify clinical, laboratory, and imaging characteristics associated with severe acute pancreatitis in children.
Methods: This was a retrospective study of children under 18 years of age with acute pancreatitis between September 1993 and August 2008. Severity of pancreatitis was graded according to established criteria. Clinical, laboratory and radiological data for mild and severe pancreatitis were collected for analysis.
Results: There were 180 cases of pancreatitis; 51 (28.3%) met criteria for severe disease. Severe pancreatitis was most commonly associated with systemic disease (22 of 51; 43.1%) and trauma (13 of 51; 25.4%). Patients with severe pancreatitis had significantly higher body weight, higher frequency of dyspnoea and pleural effusion, and lower serum calcium and albumin levels. Ten patients with systemic disease died; four of them had systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Computed tomography (CT) was more accurate than ultrasound in evaluation of the severity of pancreatitis.
Conclusions: Acute pancreatitis in children is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. The severity of paediatric pancreatitis may be influenced by aetiology. CT is recommended for evaluation of severity of pancreatitis.
© 2011 The Author(s)/Acta Paediatrica © 2011 Foundation Acta Paediatrica.