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.