, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 164-168

Management of hepatobiliary and pancreatic ascariasis in children of an endemic area

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Abstract

Ascariasis is the most common parasitic infestation in endemic areas and accounts for 50–60% of pediatric admissions in the surgical emergency department. Hepatobiliary and pancreatic ascariasis accounts for about 10% of such admissions. The present study was undertaken to evaluate the clinical features, investigations, and management of hepatobiliary and pancreatic ascariasis. The study was conducted in the endemic areas of Kashmir in northern India over a period of 3 years. During the study period (May 2001 to April 2004), 214 children with hepatobiliary and pancreatic ascariasis were admitted in the department. These children underwent complete clinical evaluation, investigation including ultrasound, and ERCP when required. Surgical intervention was done in patients who failed to settle with medical treatment. Ninety percent of our admissions were from rural areas and 86% of the children presented with pain in the right hypochondrium. Twenty-two percent of patients presented with cholangitis, whereas 39% of the children had mild icterus at presentation. Thirty-eight percent of the children had vomited worms during the episode of illness. Ultrasound was the diagnostic method of choice, which revealed the worms in the CBD in 80% of the patients, and in gall bladder in 16% of the children. Eight patients had worms in the main pancreatic duct while seven (4%) had multiple small liver abscesses. Serum alkaline phosphatase was raised in majority of children (80%). Twenty (9%) children were referred for ERCP. Medical treatment including endoscopic management was successful in 97% of the children. Seven (4%) children had to be operated upon due to complications of the disease. We conclude that the majority of the children with hepatobiliary and pancreatic ascariasis respond to conservative treatment, and surgical treatment is rarely needed.