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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

Pancreatitis, pediatric

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Your Question

My son has been diagnose with acute pancreatitis. Please help me find more information, treatment, and medication.

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

What is acute pediatric pancreatitis?

Pediatric pancreatitis is a condition that causes the pancreas to become inflamed in children. Acute refers to conditions that occur suddenly and have a short course. Symptoms of acute pediatric pancreatitis may include stomach pain, persistent vomiting, and fever.[1] Common causes include blunt abdominal injury, structural defects (e.g., pancreas divisum), medications, viruses, and gallstones.[2][1] Acute pediatric pancreatitis may also be associated with systemic disease (e.g., hemolytic uremic syndrome). If left untreated acute pancreatitis can progress to the chronic form which is more persistent and involves inflammation and scarring of the pancreas.
Last updated: 7/19/2013

What are the symptoms of acute pediatric pancreatitis?

Children with acute pancreatitis may experience stomach pain, persistent vomiting, and fever. Their abdomen may be distended and tender. The pain increases in intensity for 24 to 48 hours, during which time vomiting may increase and the child may require hospitalization for dehydration.[1]

Severe acute pancreatitis is rare in children. This form of pancreatitis can become life-threatening. In addition to the symptoms listed above, these children may have ascites, jaundice, hypocalcemia, shock, and pleural effusions. A bluish discoloration may be seen around the belly button or on the side.[1]

Last updated: 7/19/2013

How might acute pediatric pancreatitis be treated?

All families with children with pediatric pancreatitis should work with their child's health care team in developing a treatment plan. For cases of uncomplicated acute pediatric pancreatitis the aims of treatment are to relieve pain and stabilize the child’s metabolism. Pain medication is given and fluid, electrolyte, and mineral balance is restored and maintained.[1]
Last updated: 7/19/2013

What is the prognosis for children with acute pediatric pancreatitis?

The prognosis for children with an acute uncomplicated case of pancreatitis is excellent and children usually recover over a period of 2 to 5 days.[1] When pancreatitis is associated with trauma or systemic disease, the prognosis is typically related to the associated medical conditions.[1]
Last updated: 7/19/2013

  • Werlin SL. Pancreatitis. In: Behrman RE, Kliegman RM, Jenson HB, eds. Behrman: Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 17th ed. United States: Saunders, An Imprint of Elseiver;2004..
  • Whitcomb DC. Hereditary, Familial, and Genetic Disorders of the Pancreas and Pancreatic Disorders in Childhood. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ. Feldman: Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease, 8th ed.. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2006;
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.