Surgical management of pancreatitis in childhood

J Pediatr Surg. 1987 Jul;22(7):628-32. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3468(87)80114-8.


In a retrospective study of patients 18 years of age and younger over a 28-year period, 48 children had pancreatitis. Epigastric pain, nausea, and emesis were present in 90%. Hyperamylasemia was present in 34 children; elevated amylase/creatinine clearance ratio was helpful in diagnosing ten others. In four children, pancreatitis was diagnosed at laparotomy. Etiology of the pancreatitis was idiopathic in 16, drug-induced in 12, all of whom had received corticosteroids. Nine developed pancreatitis after blunt trauma; seven had obstruction of the pancreaticobiliary drainage system. Two children developed pancreatitis in association with sepsis, and two had recurrent hereditary pancreatitis. Thirty of the 48 patients were managed nonoperatively while operations were required in 18. Seven had drainage of pancreatic pseudocysts, four had a pancreatectomy, and four underwent laparotomy with debridement and drainage of necrotic pancreas. Bilioenteric bypass procedures were performed to prevent recurrent pancreatitis in three patients; while duodenojenjunostomy sphincteroplasty and cholecystectomy were performed in one child each. Cure was achieved in 38 of 48 children treated for pancreatitis and its complications; each subsequently grew and developed normally. Hemorrhagic pancreatitis occurred in seven children, six of whom died. Seven deaths occurred, all in the medically treated group. Fifteen of the 18 children treated operatively did well in long-term follow-up. Although rare, pancreatitis is a serious cause of abdominal pain in childhood; almost half of the children will benefit from operation.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chronic Disease
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Pancreatectomy
  • Pancreatic Pseudocyst / surgery
  • Pancreatitis / etiology
  • Pancreatitis / surgery*