Acute Pancreatitis Child
The pancreas is a long, flat organ located behind the stomach. It creates enzymes that help digest food as well as hormones, like insulin, that help control blood sugar.
Acute pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas that occurs suddenly.
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Factors that may increase your child’s risk of acute pancreatitis include:
- Taking certain medications
- Specific viral infection
- Congenital abnormalities
- Hyperlipidemia—excess lipids (fats) in the blood
- Hypercalcemia—excess calcium in the blood
- Cystic fibrosis
- Vasculitic diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus, Henoch-Schönlein purpura
Pancreatitis may resolve on its own. Supportive care may be needed if your child has frequent vomiting and poor appetite. To replace fluids and provide nutrition, your child’s doctor may advise:
- IV fluids
- Total parenteral nutrition—nutrition given by IV
- A feeding tube
Your child may also be given supplemental oxygen.
If your child’s condition does not improve on its own or is severe, your child’s doctor will talk to you about a treatment plan. Options include:
Your child’s doctor may advise dietary change and plenty of fluids to promote healing of the pancreas.
Your child’s doctor may advise the following medication:
- Over-the-counter pain medication
- Prescription pain medication
- Antibiotics if an infection is present or possible
- Anti-nausea medication
Talk to your child’s doctor about the medications that your child takes. Certain medications may need to be stopped or changed if they are the cause of the acute pancreatitis.
Surgery may be needed if your child has complications, such as bleeding, infection, or uncontrolled pain.
Another complication is the formation of cysts and pseudocysts. Cysts are fluid-filled sacs in or on the pancreas. A pseudocyst contains enzymes or semi-solid material that form in spaces inside the pancreas. Cysts and pseudocysts may cause pain, nausea, vomiting, or become infected. Treatment may include:
- Drainage with laparoscopic surgery, endoscopy (inserting a tube down the throat and into the small intenstine and pancreas) or by inserting a catheter into the abdomen.
- Pancreatic surgery with removal of the cyst or pseudocyst, along with the affected part of the pancreas.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
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