Public Release:  UH Rainbow study finds rising incidence of acute pancreatitis in hospitalized children

University Hospitals Case Medical Center

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IMAGE: Thomas J. Sferra, MD, of UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, led the largest investigation to date that found a significant increase in the number of acute pancreatitis cases... view more

Credit: UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital

The largest investigation to date has found a significant increase in the number of acute pancreatitis (AP) cases in hospitalized children in the United States.

The new study, in the "PLOS ONE" journal found a 51 percent increase in the primary diagnosis of AP from 2000 to 2009. The number increased from 6,350 in 2000 to 9,561 in 2009.

The study looked at hospitalization records of patients 20 years old and younger using a federal children's inpatient database. From 2000 to 2009, they identified 55,012 cases of AP in hospitalized children ages 1 - 20.

According to the study's principal investigator, Thomas J. Sferra, MD, Division Chief of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, hospitalized children with AP had longer hospital stays and higher charges. And AP was more likely to occur in children older than 5 years of age.

AP is the reversible inflammation of the pancreatic parenchyma. In children the most frequently identified causes of AP are biliary tract disease, medication adverse effect, systemic disease and trauma.

"The reason for this large increase in acute pancreatitis cases in hospitalized children is not clear," said Dr. Sferra. "Though the incidence of AP is increasing, there has been an improvement in the mortality and length of stay of these patients. These data provide a good foundation for future studies to increase our understanding of the disease."

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Other authors of this study are with Kansas University Medical Center, Louisiana Health Sciences Center-Shreveport, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, and Cleveland Clinic.

No support or grant was received for this study.

About University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital

Located on the campus of University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio, University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital is a 244-bed, full-service children's hospital and academic medical center dedicated to the health care needs of children. A trusted leader in children's health care for more than 125 years, UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital consistently ranks among the top children's hospitals in the nation. As the region's premier resource for pediatric referrals, UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital's dedicated team of more than 1,300 pediatric specialists uses the most advanced treatments and latest innovations to deliver the complete range of pediatric specialty services for more than 700,000 patient encounters each year. Learn more at RainbowBabies.org.

Among the nation's leading academic medical centers, UH Case Medical Center is the primary affiliate of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, a nationally recognized leader in medical research and education.

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