Pancreatitis in the Complex Care Population: Presentation, Incidence, and Severity

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2022 Dec 1;75(6):749-754. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0000000000003610. Epub 2022 Sep 8.


Objectives: To describe the incidence and presentation of pancreatitis in Children with Medical Complexity (CMC) while evaluating severity of disease and outlining risk factors.

Methods: This was a retrospective chart review between January 2010 and December 2019 of patients seen in the complex care clinic at Nationwide Children's Hospital (NCH) and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC). Data collected included sex, underlying diagnosis, family history of pancreatitis, type of pancreatitis, signs/symptoms, abdominal imaging, severity of attack, and presence of various risk factors associated with pancreatitis. Severity and diagnosis of pancreatitis was determined based on North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition criteria.

Results: One hundred and twelve patients from both institutions were included, 62% from NCH, median age 11.5 [interquartile range (IQR): 5-16 years], 50% male. Most patients were less than 18 years of age with a median age of 8 years (IQR: 4-13 years). Underlying diagnoses included seizures (67%), cerebral palsy/spastic quadriplegia (65%), diabetes (3.6%), and mitochondrial disease (3%). Majority of patients were found to have multiple underlying diagnoses (88%). Incidence of pancreatitis for both institutions was 336 of 100,000 patients/year which is significantly higher than the general pediatric population ( P < 0.0001). Majority of first episodes of pancreatitis were mild (82%) with abdominal pain as the predominant symptom (50%). Adult patients were more likely to have pancreatitis related to medication use than pediatric patients (70% vs 38%, respectively P = 0.007).

Conclusions: Individuals in the CMC population at our institutions have a high incidence of pancreatitis with unique risk factors compared to the general pediatric/young adult populations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain / etiology
  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Pancreatitis* / diagnosis
  • Pancreatitis* / epidemiology
  • Pancreatitis* / etiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult