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J Clin Gastroenterol. 2003 Aug;37(2):169-72.

Acute pancreatitis in childhood: analysis of literature data.

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  • 1Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition Unit, Soroka Medical Center, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel.



To review the published experience with acute pancreatitis in childhood.


Computerized search of the English medical literature since 1965 using MEDLINE.


Details of 589 patients were reviewed. Mean age was 9.2 +/- 2.4 years (range: 1 week to 21 years). Male to female ratio was 1.2. Etiologies included (n = 589): idiopathic (23%), trauma (22%), structural anomalies (15%), multisystem disease (14%), drugs and toxins (12%), viral infections (10%), hereditary (2%) and metabolic disorders (2%). Diagnosis was based most often on abnormal abdominal ultrasonography (81%) and on elevated serum amylase levels (63%). Radiograph findings were helpful in 34%. In 16% of the patients the diagnosis was based only on laparotomy. Mean hospital stay was 13.2 +/- 2.4 days and TPN was required in 28% of the patients. In 24% of the subjects a surgical intervention was indicated. Recurrence was reported in 9%, most of them with idiopathic and structural etiologies. Fatal outcome was described in 9.7% of the patients.


Acute pancreatitis of childhood, although considered sometimes as a minor disorder, carries significant morbidity and mortality. Therefore, pediatricians should be more aware of this illness.

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