Objectives: To assess specific etiologies of acute recurrent pancreatitis at a single Italian pediatric cystic fibrosis (CF) center.
Methods: We studied, retrospectively, 78 young patients (39 female subjects; mean age at diagnosis, 8.8 ± 5.1 years) affected by acute recurrent episodes of pancreatitis, remained etiologically undiagnosed at first-level assessment. All patients were submitted to endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography to exclude biliopancreatic malformations and tested for CF by a sweat chloride test. Most patients also were studied for the research of CFTR, PRSS1, and SPINK1 gene mutations.
Results: A high percentage of family history for chronic pancreatitis was observed (20.5%). The sweat test identified 8 subjects (10.3%) with classic CF (2 patients) or at risk for CF (6 patients). Genetic analysis showed mutations in CFTR, SPINK1, and PRSS1 genes in 39.6%, 7.1%, and 4.5% of patients, respectively. A biliopancreatic malformation was diagnosed in 15 patients (19.2%). We also observed biliary lithiasis (5 patients [6.5%]), congenital pancreatic polycystosis (2 patients), a case of dyslipidemia, and 1 patient with a posttransplantation, drug-induced pancreatitis.
Conclusions: Recurrent pancreatitis in children has several etiologies. Genetic testing confirms the high frequency of CFTR mutations. This suggests that it is of some value to identify patients with late-onset CF and CFTR-related disorders.