Pancreatitis in Children | Testing and Diagnosis

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How do you diagnose pancreatitis?

There is no single test to detect acute pancreatitis. The first step in the diagnosis process typically includes a blood test. This test will reveal whether there are abnormally high levels of enzymes, called amylase and lipase.

Imaging tests that may be done include:

  • An ultrasound examination of your child’s abdomen. An ultrasound will indicate whether the pancreas is swollen or inflamed.
  • A magnetic resonance imaging scan, also known as an MRI. This can help rule out other causes of abdominal pain. An MRI is sometimes used instead of a computed tomography (CT) scan to avoid radiation altogether.
  • A CT scan may be used to help rule out other causes of abdominal pain.

Blood tests and radiology scans, such as ultrasound, CT or MRI, may not always provide a clear-cut diagnosis. When this occurs, your doctor will make a clinical judgment based on your child’s history and the severity of her symptoms.

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