Pancreatic trauma in children: mechanisms of injury

J Trauma. 1997 Jan;42(1):49-53. doi: 10.1097/00005373-199701000-00009.


Background: Pancreatic trauma occurs in up to 10% of all cases of blunt pediatric trauma. Here we attempted to identify markers of pancreatic injury in children and to assess our current diagnostic approach to pancreatic injury.

Method: We performed a retrospective chart review of all patients with a pancreatic injury admitted to a Level I pediatric trauma center between January of 1980 and September of 1994.

Results: In all, 26 children were included. All pancreatic injuries were due to blunt trauma. Handlebar injuries were the most common mechanism of injury and resulted in a unique pattern of isolated pancreatic trauma, often complicated by the development of a pseudocyst. Computed tomographic scans, performed with intravenous and oral contrast and done in the acute setting, were 85% sensitive for diagnosing a pancreatic injury.

Conclusions: Double contrast computed tomographic scan is a more sensitive test than ultrasound in diagnosing pancreatic injury. The constellation of abdominal pain, an elevated serum amylase and a handlebar mechanism of injury warrants hospitalization and a double contrast abdominal computed tomographic scan.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Algorithms
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Multiple Trauma
  • Pancreas / injuries*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / classification*
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / diagnosis
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / etiology*