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Eur J Radiol. 2006 Jul;59(1):3-7. Epub 2006 Jun 15.

The role of imaging studies in pancreatic injury due to blunt abdominal trauma in children.

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Department of Radiology, University Medical Center St Radboud, Postbus 9101, Route 667, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands.



The role imaging studies play in the choice of treatment in traumatic pancreas damage remains unclear. This study was performed to gain insight into the role of radiological studies in children 16 years of age or younger admitted to our hospital with pancreatic damage due to a blunt abdominal trauma.


Retrospectively, the radiological as well as patient clinical records were reviewed of all children admitted to our hospital between 1975 and 2003 with a pancreatic lesion due to blunt abdominal trauma.


Thirty-four children with ages ranging from 3 to 14 years old were admitted with traumatic pancreas damage. Initially 33 children were treated conservatively for the pancreatic damage and only one had immediate surgery of the pancreas with a Roux-y pancreaticojejunostomy. Five other children had immediate surgery for other reasons. Overall, five children proved to have a pancreas transection on CT scans or during laparotomy. One child had a pancreas hematoma and 28 a pancreas contusion. In total 15 children developed a pseudocyst (44%), nine of which resolved spontaneously while six were treated by intervention. None of the children had residual morbidity, and there were no deaths. Considering the pancreas, the 11 available CT's were re-evaluated by two radiologists independently. Grade 3 pancreas damage (distal transection of the pancreatic duct) was diagnosed in five patients by radiologist A and four patients by radiologist B (80% match); Grade 1 was diagnosed in, respectively six and one patients (15% match). An US was performed on 19 children with 82 follow-up examinations, mostly for follow-up of the pseudocysts.


Traumatic pancreas damage is a rare and difficult diagnosis. There is no straightforward answer for diagnostic imaging in blunt abdominal trauma in children. The diagnostic relevance of CT is limited. CT in combination with MRCP may be a better option for exclusion of pancreatic duct lesions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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