January 1992

Chronic Pancreatitis Beginning in Childhood and Adolescence

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Surgery (Drs Little, Tait, and Richardson) and Paediatric Gastroenterology (Dr Dubois), Westmead Hospital, Westmead, Australia.

Arch Surg. 1992;127(1):90-92. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1992.01420010104016

• We identified 10 patients with symptoms beginning before the age of 20 years in a group of 69 patients with proven chronic pancreatitis. Six of the 10 patients were women. There was a family history of pancreatitis in three patients and alcohol exposure in seven patients. Three patients were dependent on narcotics at the time of presentation. Six of the 10 patients had pancreatic duct dilatation to 10 mm or more in diameter during observation. These six patients underwent pancreaticojejunostomy, with clinical improvement in five patients. The median time of follow-up was 19 years from presentation. No patient developed diabetes and one developed malabsorption. Only three patients were free of pain, but four other patients had only mild episodes that rarely required hospital admission. One patient died of metastatic abdominal carcinoma of unknown origin 51 years after developing familial pancreatitis. Chronic pancreatitis beginning at a young age is sufficiently common to merit special awareness. It is compatible with prolonged survival, and pancreaticojejunostomy may help if the pancreatic duct reaches sufficient size. The disease does not seem to burn out with time.

(Arch Surg. 1992;127:90-92)