Conditions + Treatments

Pancreatitis in Children | FAQs

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Will my child need to stay overnight in the hospital?

That depends. If your child can tolerate liquids at home and if their pain is well controlled, they may not need to be admitted to the hospital. If the pain is severe, your child cannot keep hydrated, or the pain does not improve with over-the-counter medications (such as Tylenol), they should be admitted to the hospital. A doctor should always be involved in this decision.

Are there any long-term complications if my child has acute pancreatitis?

The majority of cases of acute pancreatitis resolve, and there are no long-term complications. If the pancreatitis is severe, however, the most common complication is a collection of fluid around the pancreas. This can develop over several weeks after the episode of pancreatitis. These fluid collections, sometimes called a “pseudocyst,” can go away with time; however, they can also lead to abdominal discomfort, pain or even vomiting. If they persist or cause symptoms, your doctor can arrange to have the fluid collection drained. Drainage may be performed by a special radiology procedure or a special endoscopy procedure, but sometimes require surgery. Rarely, the fluid collections can become infected and require urgent drainage and treatment with antibiotics.

Could my child have another attack of acute pancreatitis?

A low percentage (about 10 percent) of children with pancreatitis will have a second or additional episodes. When this happens, your doctor will suggest additional testing to determine the cause of the recurrent acute pancreatitis.

Could my child die from acute pancreatitis?

Acute pancreatitis rarely is fatal for children. Most deaths associated with acute pancreatitis occur in children who have significant illness that damages multiple organs. Again, most children recover, usually in a week, and without any long-term complications.

Is there anything I can do to prevent pancreatitis?

Unfortunately, for most children, there is no way to prevent pancreatitis.

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