, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 240-246

Pancreatitis in childhood

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Inflammatory disease of the pancreas falls into two major classifications: acute and chronic. Acute pancreatitis is a reversible process, whereas chronic pancreatitis produces irreversible changes in the architecture and function of the pancreas. The recent finding that mutations in the gene encoding cationic trypsinogen are associated with hereditary pancreatitis, the identification of genes that increase the risk for developing chronic pancreatitis, and advances in cell biology have contributed greatly to our understanding of the molecular mechanisms leading to pancreatitis. Although pancreatitis is less common in children than in adults, it still occurs with regularity and should be considered in any child with acute or chronic abdominal pain. The major difference between pancreatitis in children and adults lies in the etiologies and outcome of acute pancreatitis and in the etiology of chronic pancreatitis. The treatment of acute and chronic pancreatitis is similar at all ages.