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S-K Goh, CH Chui, AS Jacobsen
Correspondence: C H Chui, email@example.com
Objective To analyse the cases of acute pancreatitis presented to a children's hospital in Singapore.
Methods Clinical charts of all children, aged under 18 years, who presented to our hospital for the first time with pancreatitis (ICD search criteria = 577.x) between the period of 1998 and mid-2002 were reviewed. Parameters analysed included presenting features, aetiology of the acute pancreatitis, length of hospital stay, complications, treatment and outcome.
Results There were 12 cases in the review period, and the attributable causes in these cases were, in descending order, trauma, drug-induced, anatomical anomalies, poisoning and idiopathic. Of interest were two patients whose pancreatitis were results of child abuse. The most common symptoms were abdominal pain (n=11) and vomiting (n=7), though only five patients localised the pain to the epigastrium. Abdominal tenderness could be elicited in all the patients. Eleven had evidence of acute pancreatitis from computerised tomography (CT) whilst the twelfth was diagnosed with ultrasonography. The peak amylase levels amongst these patients were not high, with a median of 512.5 U/L. In the acute stage, only one patient required operative intervention whilst the remainder were managed conservatively. The mean length of hospital stay was 12.41 +/- 4.54 days. The complications encountered included pseudocyst formation, ascites, hypocalcaemia, pleural effusion and coagulopathy.
Conclusion The diagnosis of acute pancreatitis in children can be difficult. This is often due to ambiguous symptoms, signs and laboratory results. CT and ultrasound are essential investigations in the diagnosis and subsequent follow-up.
Keywords: acute pancreatitis, children, child abuse, paediatrics
Singapore Med J 2003; 44(9): 453-456