Secondary Logo

Journal Logo

Causal Evaluation of Acute Recurrent and Chronic Pancreatitis in Children: Consensus From the INSPPIRE Group

Gariepy, Cheryl E.*; Heyman, Melvin B.; Lowe, Mark E.; Pohl, John F.§; Werlin, Steven L.||; Wilschanski, Michael; Barth, Bradley#; Fishman, Douglas S.**; Freedman, Steven D.††; Giefer, Matthew J.‡‡; Gonska, Tanja§§; Himes, Ryan**; Husain, Sohail Z.; Morinville, Veronique D.||||; Ooi, Chee Y.¶¶; Schwarzenberg, Sarah J.##; Troendle, David M.#; Yen, Elizabeth; Uc, Aliye***

Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition: January 2017 - Volume 64 - Issue 1 - p 95–103
doi: 10.1097/MPG.0000000000001446
Original Article: Pancreatology

Objectives: Acute recurrent pancreatitis (ARP) and chronic pancreatitis (CP) have been diagnosed in children at increasing rates during the past decade. As pediatric ARP and CP are still relatively rare conditions, little quality evidence is available on which to base the diagnosis and determination of etiology. The aim of the study was to review the current state of the literature regarding the etiology of these disorders and to developed a consensus among a panel of clinically active specialists caring for children with these disorders to help guide the diagnostic evaluation and identify areas most in need of future research.

Methods: A systematic review of the literature was performed and scored for quality, followed by consensus statements developed and scored by each individual in the group for level of agreement and strength of the supporting data using a modified Delphi method. Scores were analyzed for the level of consensus achieved by the group.

Results: The panel reached consensus on 27 statements covering the definitions of pediatric ARP and CP, evaluation for potential etiologies of these disorders, and long-term monitoring. Statements for which the group reached consensus to make no recommendation or could not reach consensus are discussed.

Conclusions: This consensus helps define the minimal diagnostic evaluation and monitoring of children with ARP and CP. Even in areas in which we reached consensus, the quality of the evidence is weak, highlighting the need for further research. Improved understanding of the underlying cause will facilitate treatment development and targeting.

Supplemental Digital Content is available in the text

*Nationwide Children's Hospital and The Ohio State University, Columbus

University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco

Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, Pittsburgh, PA

§University of Utah, Salt Lake City

||Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

Hadassah—Hebrew University Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel

#University of Texas, Southwestern Medical School, Dallas

**Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX

††Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

‡‡Seattle Children's Hospital, Seattle, WA

§§Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON

||||Montreal Children's Hospital, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada

¶¶University of New South Wales and Sydney Children's Hospital Randwick, Sydney, Australia

##University of Minnesota, Masonic Children's Hospital, Minneapolis

***University of Iowa, Children's Hospital, Iowa City.

Address correspondence to Cheryl E. Gariepy, Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, JW1991 Nationwide Children's Hospital, 700 Children's drive, Columbus OH 43205 (e-mail:

Received 11 April, 2016

Accepted 4 September, 2016

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text, and links to the digital files are provided in the HTML text of this article on the journal's Web site (

E.Y. is now Roche Innovation Center Basel, F. Hoffmann-La Roche LTD, Basel, Switzerland.

This study was supported by the Institute for Clinical and Translational Science through the National Institutes of Health (DK096327, DK108334, and UL1 TR000442 to A.U.).

A.U. is a consultant for Abbvie Inc for exocrine pancreatic function testing. J.F.P. is a member of the speaker's bureau for Medical Education Resources Inc. M.B.H. is the NAPSGHAN Editor of the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. C.E.G. and M.W. are on the editorial board of the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. J.F.P. is on the editorial board of Practical Gastroenterology. The sponsors of this study (National Institutes of Health) did not participate in writing of the report or the decision to submit this manuscript for publication. The other authors report no conflicts of interest.

What Is Known

  • Acute recurrent pancreatitis and chronic pancreatitis are increasingly diagnosed in children.
  • Children with acute recurrent pancreatitis and chronic pancreatitis often undergo little evaluation for the cause of their disease.
  • Children with chronic pancreatitis have a high incidence of pancreatitis-predisposing genetic mutations.

What Is New

  • Guidance regarding the minimal evaluation related to pediatric acute recurrent pancreatitis and chronic pancreatitis is provided.
  • Sweat chloride testing and PRSS1 mutation analysis are recommended for the evaluation for hereditary acute recurrent pancreatitis and chronic pancreatitis.
  • High-level evidence for the evaluation of children with acute recurrent pancreatitis and chronic pancreatitis is lacking and should be addressed with further research.

Because acute recurrent pancreatitis (ARP) and chronic pancreatitis (CP) are relatively uncommon in the pediatric population, studies providing high-quality evidence for their evaluation do not exist. Pediatric ARP and CP share common risk factors that are often distinct from those for adults (eg, alcohol and tobacco), making the more extensive adult literature of limited value in the evaluation and management of these children (1).

The International Study Group of Pediatric Pancreatitis: In search for a cuRE (INSPPIRE) consortium was formed to collect detailed information on a cohort of children with ARP and CP with the aim to fill gaps in knowledge and improve clinical care (2). The INSPPIRE database was populated by surveys completed by each patient/patient's family and by the managing pediatric gastroenterologist. In the first iteration of the data collection tool, we collected study physician's opinion regarding the cause of pediatric ARP/CP with “idiopathic” being one of the choices. We also collected specific clinical data including detailed information regarding patient demographics, events associated with pancreatitis, abdominal pain history, alcohol and tobacco history, medication use, family history, imaging history, history of genetic testing, history of exocrine or endocrine pancreatic insufficiency, and treatment. In a subsequent review of the data, we noted that many children were labeled as having idiopathic ARP or CP in the absence of genetic testing. In addition, many children who were found to have pancreas divisum did not have additional evaluation despite an ongoing debate regarding a direct role for pancreas divisum in the development of ARP and CP (3).

Our aim with this current effort was to reach expert consensus recommendations on the minimal evaluation of the risk factors for ARP and CP in pediatric patients. After a systematic literature review by pediatric gastroenterologists with expertise in pediatric pancreatitis, recommendation statements were developed and submitted to all the authors for consideration using the Delphi method (4). We present the agreed consensus recommendations followed by a brief summary of the relevant background literature or expert discussion on each topic. We also address important areas where we reached a consensus to make no recommendation or where we were unable to reach consensus to help guide future research directions for pediatric ARP and CP.

Back to Top | Article Outline


Panel Selection

The INSPPIRE consortium is made up of individuals with a wide array of backgrounds including a pediatric endocrinologist, nurses, research coordinators, pediatric gastroenterologists, and trainees. A core group of 6 senior pediatric gastroenterologists at academic medical centers in the United States and Israel initiated this effort, performed the literature review, and developed the recommendation statements through e-mail communications and 3 conference calls. The statements were then submitted to the individual members of the entire INSPPIRE group (consensus group). Individual members of the consensus group scored the statements and returned them to 1 member of the core group (C.E.G.) who functioned as the Delphi process facilitator. The consensus group consisted of 18 members of INSPPIRE who are practicing pediatric gastroenterologists with an interest in pediatric pancreatic disease. The consensus group included the 6 members of the core group with the addition of pediatric gastroenterologists from the United States, Canada, and Australia.

Back to Top | Article Outline

Search Strategy and Grading Criteria

The literature regarding the evaluation of ARP and CP in adults has recently been reviewed (5,6). Therefore, we concentrated our efforts on literature specifically related to children.

A PubMed search was performed on January 2, 2016, using the following the criteria included in Supplemental Digital Content, PubMed Search Criteria ( This search yielded 315 English language publications involving humans since 1975, of which 306 were available as whole text. Of these, 51 were review articles and therefore were excluded. The remaining 255 articles were equally distributed and evaluated by 1 of the 6 core group pediatric gastroenterologists. Publications were graded regarding the level of evidence based on the Oxford Criteria for Evidence-Based Medicine (OCEBM Levels of Evidence Working Group, “The Oxford Levels of Evidence 2” Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine (OCEBM) Articles that were judged to have Level 1 or 2 data were re-reviewed by an additional investigator in the core group to confirm the scoring.

Based on the results of this literature review, additional literature related to pancreatitis in adults and personal experience, the core group developed recommendation statements. These statements were sent to the consensus group with instructions on the Grades of Recommendation, Assessment, Development and Evaluation system (7). Members of the consensus group were asked to independently score each statement on a 5-point scale: 5 = definitely yes, 4 = probably yes, 3 = no specific recommendation, 2 = probably no, 1 = definitely no and also submit a Grades of Recommendation, Assessment, Development and Evaluation strength of recommendation (1 = strong, 2 = weak) and quality of evidence (A = high, B = moderate, C = low). They were asked to submit comments regarding the recommendation statement and evidence to support the score to the facilitator. A summary report was generated by the facilitator of scores, comments, and high-quality references relevant to areas of disagreement and distributed back to the entire group for input/discussion. New statements were developed, statements were reworded, and some statements were eliminated based on feedback from the group and distributed again for scoring and input. This process was repeated through 3 rounds with the aim to reach consensus on as many statements as possible. At least 14 members of the consensus group participated in each round of scoring. Strong agreement or consensus was defined as a standard deviation (SD) of ≤0.5 on the 5-point scale. Moderate agreement was defined as a SD > 0.5 when the highest and lowest scores were excluded with all scores leaning either positive (3–5) or negative (1–3). Poor consensus statements were defined as having the SD of scores from experts >0.5, and both positive and negative responses remained after exclusion of the lowest and highest scores. Items achieving consensus were considered settled and not included in subsequent scoring rounds. Between the second and third rounds of scoring, 11 members of the consensus group met in person to try to reach consensus on final items.

Back to Top | Article Outline


The 255 articles evaluated as a result of the PubMed search contained many case reports or dealt with surgical treatment of pancreatitis. Only 76 articles were judged to address risk factors for pediatric ARP or CP and had at least Level 4 evidence. None of articles identified by the search results were deemed to provide Level 1 or 2 evidence regarding risk factors for pediatric ARP or CP.

The first round of statements developed by the core group and distributed to the consensus group included definitions of ARP and CP, 29 statements regarding etiologic evaluation, and 6 statements regarding long-term monitoring of patients with ARP and CP. The second round included 1 definition, 27 statements regarding etiologic evaluation and 6 statements regarding long-term monitoring. The final round included 7 statements regarding etiologic evaluation. Consensus was reached on 27 statements and 25 statements were endorsed (Table 1). The panel either could not reach consensus or reached a consensus to not make a recommendation regarding 8 statements (Table 2).

Table 1

Table 1

Table 2

Table 2

All statements with poor consensus received a mean score of no specific recommendation.

Back to Top | Article Outline


DEFINITION: Pediatric ARP is at least 2 discrete episodes of acute pancreatitis (AP) as defined by the INSPPIRE criteria in the absence of evidence of irreversible, structural changes in the pancreas (8). The patient must fail to meet criteria for AP for a period after the first episode.

The INSPPIRE Criteria for AP is the presence of at least 2 of the following:

  1. Characteristic abdominal pain
  2. Imaging consistent with AP
  3. Lipase or amylase ≥3 times the upper limit of normal (3×ULN).Strong Consensus, Definitely Yes

DEFINITION: Pediatric CP is the presence of at least 1 of the following:

  1. Irreversible, structural changes in the pancreas such as diffuse or focal destruction, sclerosis, pancreatic duct abnormalities/obstruction with some periods of consistent abdominal pain or lipase or amylase ≥3×ULN.
  2. Irreversible, structural changes in the pancreas such as diffuse or focal destruction, sclerosis, pancreatic duct abnormalities/obstruction with exocrine pancreatic insufficiency.
  3. Irreversible, structural changes in the pancreas such as diffuse or focal destruction, sclerosis, pancreatic duct abnormalities/obstruction with endocrine pancreatic insufficiency.Strong Consensus, Probably Yes
Back to Top | Article Outline


STATEMENT: Pediatric patients with ARP are at risk for progressing to CP over time.

Strong Consensus, Probably Yes

STATEMENT: Pediatric CP and ARP have common etiologies.

Strong Consensus, Definitely Yes

STATEMENT: More than 1 risk factor for ARP or CP may be identified in the same patient.

Strong Consensus, Definitely Yes

STATEMENT: Pain associated with CP can be intermittent (similar in character to ARP), chronic, or resolved.

Moderate Consensus, Definitely Yes

Two related issues covered by the above statements generated discussion. Although good consensus was achieved, primarily based on anecdotal experience, that ARP can progress to CP, the boundary between these 2 entities and the clinical usefulness of maintaining the boundary were questioned. Because of the current weakness of the evidence connecting the 2 conditions, we elected to maintain the traditional separate definitions. In many individual cases however, ARP may be an early manifestation of an underlying disorder that will eventually manifest as CP (9,10). Review of the INSPPIRE database indicated that genetic factors were more commonly found in subjects with CP, whereas toxic/metabolic factors were more commonly identified in subjects with ARP, but there also was significant overlap (11).

The other area of discussion was the role of abdominal pain in the definition of CP. Although abdominal pain is a primary hallmark of CP in adults, it is common for children with irreversible, destructive structural changes to the pancreas (CP) to complain only of mild or intermittent pain. It is not clear whether this finding is because of inherent differences in the disease process in children or differences in the way children experience or report pain. The definition we adopted for CP relies heavily on imaging finding, pancreatic function, or biochemical evidence of pancreatitis while relying less on the nature of the reported pain.

Clinical Laboratory Testing:

STATEMENT: Initial evaluation of recurrent pancreatitis should include the following:

Aspartate aminotransferase

Alanine aminotransferase


Total bilirubin (with fractionation if total is elevated)

Fasting lipids

Total serum calcium

Strong Consensus, Definitely Yes

STATEMENT: In the initial evaluation of ARP one should consider testing for stool ova and parasites in patients who are immunosuppressed, have been traveling to areas where Ascaris lumbricoides or Strongyloides stercoralis is endemic, or have peripheral blood eosinophilia.

Strong Consensus, Probably Yes

STATEMENT: If there is a concern for undiagnosed metabolic disease, serum ammonia, and urine organic acids should be obtained on presentation.

Moderate Consensus, Probably Yes

Measurement of serum transaminases (aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, and gamma glutamyltransferase) can help in the evaluation for metabolic and obstructive pancreatic lesions. Underlying metabolic abnormalities are more likely to be found in ARP or CP than acute pancreatitis (12). Members of the INSPPIRE consortium recently published a review of toxic and metabolic risk factors in pediatric pancreatitis including recommendations for diagnosis and management (13). Triglyceride levels greater than or equal to 1000 mg/dL are accepted as an absolute risk factor for ARP. Genetic defects in lipoprotein lipase and apolipoprotein C-II should be considered in patients with hypertriglyceridemia and ARP or CP.

A causal link between hypercalcemia (total serum calcium above 10.7 mg/dL) and pancreatitis is supported by experimental evidence (14) and this association is well established clinically, primarily in patients with parathyroid gland adenomas leading to primary hyperparathyroidism, such as in the multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type I (15,16). Primary hyperparathyroidism can lead to both ARP and CP (17).

A number of rare metabolic disorders including organic acidosis syndromes and maple syrup urine disease are associated with pancreatitis in case reports or case series. The availability of extensive newborn screening for metabolic diseases in the United States makes the yield of metabolic evaluation lower than in the past for this country. In areas of the world where newborns are not routinely screened, testing for these conditions should be strongly considered.

Imaging Studies and Endoscopy:

STATEMENT: Initial evaluation of ARP should include imaging of the pancreas.

Strong Consensus, Definitely Yes

STATEMENT: Patients with ARP should have magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) imaging. Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) and endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) may be alternatives depending on the clinical scenario.

Strong Consensus, Definitely Yes

STATEMENT: Detailed imaging of the pancreatic ducts and biliary tree (MRCP) should be undertaken acutely if the gamma glutamyltransferase >2×ULN or the direct bilirubin fraction is elevated, even in the absence of evidence of obstructive etiology on ultrasound.

Moderate Consensus, Probably Yes

STATEMENT: The choice of modality to image the pancreas of children should minimize radiation exposure.

Strong Consensus, Definitely Yes

STATEMENT: Pancreas divisum is a risk factor for ARP but alone is not sufficient to prevent evaluation for concomitant causes of ARP or CP.

Strong Consensus, Definitely Yes

STATEMENT: Annular pancreas is a risk factor for ARP but alone is not sufficient to prevent evaluation for concomitant causes of ARP.

Strong Consensus, Definitely Yes

STATEMENT: Once the diagnosis of ARP or CP is made, laboratory evaluation and imaging on presentation for ARP events depends on the overall clinical situation and disease pattern.

Strong Consensus, Probably Yes

STATEMENT: When available, a secretin-enhanced MRCP or secretin-enhanced magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (sMRCP) (rather than a standard MRCP) should be obtained to evaluate pancreatic ductal abnormalities.

Moderate Consensus, Probably Yes

STATEMENT: An esophagogastroduodenoscopy with biopsies to evaluate for mucosal abnormalities (such as peptic ulcer disease, Crohn disease, or eosinophilic enteritis) or duplications should be considered in patients with ARP or CP of unclear etiology.

No Consensus, No Recommendation

The review by Schwarzenberg et al (3) of children with CP in the INSPPIRE database reported obstructive lesions of the pancreas in 33% of cases. The majority of the identified lesions were congenital (ie, pancreas divisum and pancreatic duct malunion), whereas gallstones were implicated in CP in only 4% of subjects. Similar results are seen with ARP. Lucidi et al (18) reported structural abnormalities in 19% of their pediatric cohort with ARP, 47% of whom had a choledochal cyst (which is strongly associated with pancreatic duct malunion). We found obstructive lesions in about one-third of our cohort of >300 children, distributed evenly between the CP and ARP, with ∼40% of these children identified as having pancreatic divisum. Overall the frequency of identified pancreatic divisum in the INSPPIRE cohort was, however, 8% to 9%, similar to the percentage reported in the general population (11,19). Because of this finding, a consensus was reached that pancreatic divisum may play a role in the development of ARP or CP, but this finding may not be causative in itself and further investigation is warranted.

sMRCP has been studied in adults, and at many centers sMRCP is now the standard accepted technique for identifying early changes of the pancreatic duct (5,20). sMRCP can provide dynamic images of the pancreatic duct to differentiate fixed from nonfixed lesions. It also is being explored as a technique to assess exocrine function of the pancreas (21). Studies in children are, however, limited, secretin is often unavailable, and this technique has not been as widely adopted by pediatric radiologists compared with adult radiologists (22).

Statements of Special Consideration/Controversy:

Genetic testing:

STATEMENT: The search for a genetic cause of ARP or CP should include a sweat chloride test (even if newborn screening for cystic fibrosis [CF] is negative) and PRSS1 gene mutation testing. Genetic testing for CF should be considered if a sweat test is unable to be performed.

Strong Consensus, Definitely Yes

STATEMENT: Mutation analysis of the genes SPINK1, CFTR and CTRC may identify risk factors for ARP or CP.

Strong Consensus, Definitely Yes

STATEMENT: Patients with ARP or CP and a sweat test ≤60 mmol/L should have expanded CFTR mutation testing done if there is no other identified cause of their pancreatic disease (such as a PRSS1 mutation or a clear obstructive etiology).

No Consensus, No Specific Recommendation

The INSPPIRE research consortium recently published a cross-sectional study of CP patients in the registry and reported that 1 or more pancreatitis-predisposing genetic mutations were identified in 67% of study subjects despite the fact that 17% of subjects had no genetic test results available (3). The most common CP-associated mutations involved the cationic trypsinogen gene (PRSS1). Of the 11 subjects (14%) with CF transmembrane regulator gene (CFTR) mutations, 91% had 1 or more mutations associated with CF or a CFTR-related disorder (23,24) and only 1 had a positive sweat chloride test (3). ARP and CP also have been associated with loss-of-function mutations in genes that encode the serine peptidase inhibitor Kazal type 1 (SPINK1), chymotrypsin C (CTRC), the calcium-sensing receptor gene (CASR), and the lipase gene CEL (12,25).

Although knowing potential genetic mutations is desired by the patient, family, treating physician, and interested investigators, these recommendations are meant to guide the minimal evaluation for the etiology of ARP and CP. Therefore, the group consensus was to give 2 levels of recommendation. We elected to strongly recommend genetic testing when positive results provide clear etiologic information and therefore alter the direction and extent of further causal investigations. We strongly recommend testing for PRSS1 mutations and for CF.

The presence of a PRSS1 mutation has implications for future health of the patient as well as close relatives and future children of the patient. Identifying a known gain-of-function PRSS1 mutation (p.N29I or p.R122H) suggests the patient has hereditary pancreatitis and has a high likelihood of progressive disease to CP and pancreatic cancer. Because the disease penetrance of PRSS1 mutations is high (unlike the other currently identified mutations in other genes) additional investigation for other potential causes of ARP or CP may not be necessary as family members are more likely to be affected. Genetic counseling should play a central role in the care of patients with PRSS1 mutations.

Many children in the INSPPIRE cohort had an incomplete evaluation for CFTR-related disease. Although diagnosing CF in patients presenting with pancreatitis is uncommon with genotyping alone, more extensive testing increases the yield (26–28). Many individuals with nonclassical CF pancreatitis carry at least 1 CFTR mutation that is less functionally deleterious than those found in classical CF (29). Clinical testing for these mutations is, however, controversial as it remains unclear how to identify CFTR mutations that increase the risk of ARP/CP. Only a few mutations have been identified in a sufficient number of individuals to determine whether they contribute significantly to the risk of developing pancreatitis. Data are often analyzed as total CFTR mutations in the pancreatitis population compared with a control population. The same comparison with individual mutations is not statistically significant because the numbers are small.

It also is unclear how dysfunction of a CFTR mutation should be determined. Two recent reports complicate the issue. Ooi et al (27) demonstrate discordance between 2 methods to functionally test the CFTR protein, including sweat testing and nasal potential difference (NPD). Larusch et al (30) suggest that CFTR mutations that alter bicarbonate transport but not chloride transport increase the risk for CP. It is not clear that these mutations would produce abnormal results on functional testing with sweat test or NPD. Presently, CFTR mutation analysis may be useful to help identify a risk factor for the development of ARP and CP, but such analysis will not demonstrate a clear etiology. The advent of “read-through agents” and medications that improve the function of specific CF-causing mutant CFTR proteins, suggests that identification of rare genetic mutations may be critical in the future for targeted therapy (31,32). Currently, we recommend that individuals with a positive or borderline sweat test be referred to a CF center to allow for complete evaluation of CF.

The identification of SPINK1 mutations in patients with ARP or CP may provide important prognostic information in the presence of other risk factors (33). Importantly, the SPINK1 p.N34S variant is a risk factor for rapid progression to CP particularly if the SPINK1 variants are bi-allelic (34–36). SPINK1 variants may also increase the risk of progression to CP when found alone or in combination with other risk factors (11,37).

Many polymorphisms have been identified in the CTRC gene. These include a number of missense and deletion variants that do not have a clear association with CP (38). Furthermore, the mutations associated with risk may be affected by ethnicity. Studies on patients in a German database found that only the p.254W and p.K247_R254del mutations were associated with an increased risk of CP (39,40). Studies of patient cohorts from India found that the p.A73T, p.I64LfsX69, p.V235I and c.180C>T mutations increased the risk of CP in this population (40,41). In the INSPPIRE population, CTRC mutations were significantly more common in children with onset of disease <6 years old, compared with later onset (42). Because there is less evidence that SPINK1 and CTRC mutations are causative of ARP and CP, the consensus was to recommend testing for mutations in these genes in a separate statement. New genetic risk factors are being identified and testing for them may be warranted in the future.

Autoimmune Pancreatitis:

STATEMENT: Autoimmune pancreatitis (AIP) is a systemic disease that rarely causes ARP or CP in children.

Strong Consensus, Probably Yes

STATEMENT: IgG4-positive ampullary biopsies are neither sensitive nor specific for pediatric AIP.

Strong Consensus, No Specific Recommendation

STATEMENT: Empiric trials of corticosteroids should not be done for pediatric ARP or CP in the absence of evidence suggesting AIP.

Moderate Consensus, Probably Yes

STATEMENT: Measurement of serum IgG4 levels in children with ARP or CP in the absence of associated systemic disease or suggestive imaging for AIP is unlikely to be useful.

Moderate Consensus, No Specific Recommendation

Although the group agreed that AIP is rare in children, opinion regarding which pediatric patients should be evaluated for the disorder and how to diagnose AIP varied widely. Generally, it was judged that not enough data or experiences are available to guide a consensus in this disorder in children although adult diagnostic criteria for the diagnosis of AIP exist including the HISORt criteria (42). Serum IgG4 levels can be checked in pediatric patients with suspicion of AIP although elevated IgG4 levels are elevated only in Type I AIP (lymphoplasmacytic sclerosing pancreatitis type) but not in Type II AIP (neutrophilic infiltration of duct epithelium type), which is seen more commonly in younger patients (43). Only 3 cases of pediatric probable type 1 AIP are reported in the literature and only one of these presented with pain or elevated lipase (44,45).

Bile Collection, Metabolic Disease, and Celiac Disease:

STATEMENT: Patients without an etiology for ARP or CP after evaluation for obstructive, genetic and metabolic causes should have bile collected for microcrystal analysis.

No Consensus, No Specific Recommendation

STATEMENT: Patients with ARP that only have pancreatitis in the setting of a clear metabolic derangement (diabetic ketoacidosis, toxic drug exposure, diagnosed metabolic disease, severe hypertriglyceridemia [>1000 mg/dL], or hypercalcemia) require no further evaluation regarding the etiology of the pancreatitis.

No Consensus, No Specific Recommendation

STATEMENT: Patients with ARP or CP should be screened for celiac disease

Strong Consensus, Probably Yes

A large population-based study identified a 2.6-fold risk of ARP or CP in individuals who subsequently were diagnosed with celiac disease (46). Case reports associate celiac disease with pancreatitis in children. Because early diagnosis of celiac disease can impact not only the recurrence or progression of pancreatic disease but also the general health and growth of the child, celiac disease screening is recommended.

Long-term monitoring:

STATEMENT: Pediatric patients with CP should be evaluated for fat-soluble vitamin deficiency at least annually.

Strong Consensus, Probably Yes

STATEMENT: Pediatric patients with ARP should be evaluated for fat-soluble vitamin deficiency at least annually.

Moderate Consensus, Probably Yes

STATEMENT: Pediatric patients with CP should be evaluated for the development of pancreatic exocrine insufficiency at least annually.

Strong Consensus, Definitely Yes

STATEMENT: Pediatric patients with ARP should be evaluated for the development of pancreatic exocrine insufficiency at least annually.

Moderate Consensus, Probably Yes

STATEMENT: Pediatric patients with CP should be evaluated for the development of pancreatic endocrine insufficiency at least annually.

Moderate Consensus, Probably Yes

STATEMENT: Pediatric patients with ARP should be evaluated for the development of pancreatic endocrine insufficiency at least annually.

No Consensus, No Specific Recommendation

The group could not agree on annual evaluation of ARP patients regarding the development of endocrine pancreatic insufficiency but did reach moderate consensus that pediatric patients with ARP should be evaluated for exocrine pancreatic insufficiency annually.

After several rounds, consensus was reached that patients with CP should be monitored annually for the development of exocrine and endocrine pancreatic insufficiency. Patients with CP can develop pancreatic exocrine and endocrine insufficiency over time. Our experience is that ARP is frequently a precursor to CP, and the exact timing of the development of irreversible pancreatic damage may not be clinically apparent. The time course for the transition to exocrine or endocrine insufficiency is not clearly established. The group consensus was that patients with CP require more direct testing for pancreatic insufficiency, but the weaknesses of the currently widely available, noninvasive tests for exocrine insufficiency made us hesitant to recommend such testing formally (47). Many of us routinely screen with fecal elastase-1, fasting blood glucose, and HbA1c (48). Fat-soluble vitamin deficiencies are frequently found even in patients with exocrine insufficiency treated with pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy (49,50).

Back to Top | Article Outline


ARP and CP in children are relatively rare but are being recognized more frequently in the last decade. In addition, new underlying causes of pediatric ARP and CP, specifically autoimmune and genetic etiologies, are being better defined. There are few rigorously conducted studies on which to base the evaluation of children experiencing these disorders and diversity of opinion exists as to what constitutes an adequate evaluation. We used a formal group consensus method to provide guidance regarding the minimum evaluation that should be undertaken in search of a specific etiology. As such, statements/evaluation that we have not endorsed as part of the minimum evaluation, such as upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, may be appropriate and would be recommended by experts in specific clinical situations. It is not our intention that recommendation statements not endorsed by the panel should be proscribed.

In general, the strength of each recommendation is reflected in the level of consensus and the numerical OCEBM score while our assessment of the quality of the evidence is reflected in the strength of agreement (ie, “definitely yes” versus “probably yes”) and the alphabetic OCEBM score. There is, however, likely overlap as each member of the panel scored each item independently and was not required to provide justification. In addition, the strength of our recommendations reflects the extent to which we are confident that the desirable effects of a recommendation will outweigh possible undesirable effects. For example, 1 factor we considered when we chose not to recommend routine screening for AIP was whether such a recommendation would lead to overuse of immunosuppressive medication.

The consensus statements presented here are the first to provide expert guidance regarding the evaluation of CP and ARP in children. We expect that with the development of multicenter studies and patient databases, such as those coming from the INSPPIRE research collaborative, these guidance statements will change and be more evidence-based in the relatively near future. The evidence on which we base these recommendations is generally weak and highlights the need for further research.

Back to Top | Article Outline

18th century Thoughts on Newborn Jaundice

It is much that this distemper [jaundice] is rarely mentioned in practical authors, though a great many newborn babes die of it; most commonly by the neglect of nurses who according to their usual acuteness say, they grow yellow and must die, therefore neither seek for nor try any assistance. Of a hangman and hard-hearted nurse I know not which is the cruelest.

John Cook (1705–1777) A Plain Account of the Diseases Incident to Children with an Easy Method of Curing Them (1769)

Mrs. J. had been the mother of eleven children on nine of which the jaundice appeared a few days after they were born, and they all died within the period of a month after their birth. The tenth child lived six years, was then afflicted with the jaundice and died. In May 1796 Mrs. J. was delivered of her eleventh child: on the third day after its birth the skin became yellow, and the child was at the same time remarkably torpid and sleepy and seemed to be slightly convulsed ... [he] died on the ninth day.

Michael Underwood (1737–1820) A Treatise on the Diseases of Children (1784)

The fatal not to be removed by emetics, gentle purgatives, and the warm bath, the natural remedies for an obstruction of the ducts. I believe it to be an original and incurable malconformation in the liver. It is a disease peculiar to some families.

John Cheyne (1777–1836) Essays on the Diseases of Children (1802)

—Contributed by Angel R. Colón, MD from Nurturing Children: A History of Pediatrics

Back to Top | Article Outline


1. Coté GA, Yadav D, Slivka A, et al Alcohol and smoking as risk factors in an epidemiology study of patients with chronic pancreatitis. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2011; 9:266–273.
2. Morinville VD, Lowe ME, Ahuja M, et al Design and implementation of INSPPIRE. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 2014; 59:360–364.
3. Schwarzenberg SJ, Bellin M, Husain SZ, et al Pediatric chronic pancreatitis is associated with genetic risk factors and substantial disease burden. J Pediatr 2015; 166:890–896. e1.
4. Nair R, Aggarwal R, Khanna D. Methods of formal consensus in classification/diagnostic criteria and guideline development. Semin Arthritis Rheum 2011; 41:95–105.
5. Conwell DL, Lee LS, Yadav D, et al American Pancreatic Association practice guidelines in chronic pancreatitis: evidence-based report on diagnostic guidelines. Pancreas 2014; 43:1143–1162.
6. Working Group IAP/APA Acute Pancreatitis Guidelines. IAP/APA evidence-based guidelines for the management of acute pancreatitis. Pancreatology 2013; 13 (4 suppl 2):e1–e15.
7. Balshem H, Helfand M, Schünemann HJ, et al GRADE guidelines: 3. Rating the quality of evidence. J Clin Epidemiol 2011; 64:401–406.
8. Morinville VD, Husain SZ, Bai H, et al Definitions of pediatric pancreatitis and survey of present clinical practices. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 2012; 55:261–265.
9. Avanthi SU, Ravi Kanth VV, Agarwal J, et al Association of Claudin2 and PRSS1-PRSS2 polymorphisms with idiopathic recurrent acute and chronic pancreatitis: a case-control study from India. J Gastroenterol Hepatol 2015; 30:1796–1801.
10. Shelton CA, Whitcomb DC. Genetics and treatment options for recurrent acute and chronic pancreatitis. Curr Treat Options Gastroenterol 2014; 12:359–371.
11. Kumar S, Ooi CY, Werlin S, et al Pediatric acute recurrent and chronic pancreatitis: lessons from INSPPIRE. JAMA Pediatr 2016; 170:562–569.
12. Whitcomb DC. Genetic risk factors for pancreatic disorders. Gastroenterology 2013; 144:1292–1302.
13. Husain SZ, Morinville V, Pohl J, et al Toxic-metabolic risk factors in pediatric pancreatitis: recommendations for diagnosis, management and future research. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 2016; 62:609–617.
14. Frick TW. The role of calcium in acute pancreatitis. Surgery 2012; 152 (3 suppl 1):S157–S163.
15. Marcocci C, Bollerslev J, Khan AA, et al Medical management of primary hyperparathyroidism: proceedings of the fourth International Workshop on the Management of Asymptomatic Primary Hyperparathyroidism. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2014; 99:3607–3618.
16. Bai HX, Giefer M, Patel M, et al The association of primary hyperparathyroidism with pancreatitis. J Clin Gastroenterol 2012; 46:656–661.
17. Jacob JJ, John M, Thomas N, et al Does hyperparathyroidism cause pancreatitis? A South Indian experience and a review of published work. ANZ J Surg 2006; 76:740–744.
18. Lucidi V, Alghisi F, Dall’Oglio L, et al The etiology of acute recurrent pancreatitis in children: a challenge for pediatricians. Pancreas 2011; 40:517–521.
19. Bülow R, Simon P, Thiel R, et al Anatomic variants of the pancreatic duct and their clinical relevance: an MR-guided study in the general population. Eur Radiol 2014; 24:3142–3149.
20. Rastegar N, Matteoni-Athayde LG, Eng J, et al Incremental value of secretin-enhanced magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography in detecting ductal communication in a population with high prevalence of small pancreatic cysts. Eur J Radiol 2015; 84:575–580.
21. Mensel B, Messner P, Mayerle J, et al Secretin-stimulated MRCP in volunteers: assessment of safety, duct visualization, and pancreatic exocrine function. AJR Am J Roentgenol 2014; 202:102–108.
22. Sandrasegaran K, Coté GA, Tahir B, et al The utility of secretin-enhanced MRCP in diagnosing congenital anomalies. Abdom Imaging 2014; 39:979–987.
23. Levy H, Nugent M, Schneck K, et al Refining the continuum of CFTR-associated disorders in the era of newborn screening. Clin Genet 2016; 89:539–549.
24. Bombieri C, Claustres M, De Boeck K, et al Recommendations for the classification of diseases as CFTR-related disorders. J Cyst Fibros 2011; 10 (suppl 2):S86–S102.
25. Fjeld K, Weiss FU, Lasher D, et al A recombined allele of the lipase gene CEL and its pseudogene CELP confers susceptibility to chronic pancreatitis. Nat Genet 2015; 47:518–522.
26. Bishop MD, Freedman SD, Zielenski J, et al The cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator gene and ion channel function in patients with idiopathic pancreatitis. Hum Genet 2005; 118:372–381.
27. Ooi CY, Dupuis A, Ellis L, et al Does extensive genotyping and nasal potential difference testing clarify the diagnosis of cystic fibrosis among patients with single-organ manifestations of cystic fibrosis? Thorax 2014; 69:254–260.
28. Werlin S, Konikoff FM, Halpern Z, et al Genetic and electrophysiological characteristics of recurrent acute pancreatitis. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 2015; 60:675–679.
29. Ooi CY, Dorfman R, Cipolli M, et al Type of CFTR mutation determines risk of pancreatitis in patients with cystic fibrosis. Gastroenterology 2011; 140:153–161.
30. Larusch J, Jung J, General IJ, et al Mechanisms of CFTR functional variants that impair regulated bicarbonate permeation and increase risk for pancreatitis but not for cystic fibrosis. PLoS Genet 2014; 10:e1004376.
31. McKone EF, Borowitz D, Drevinek P, et al Long-term safety and efficacy of ivacaftor in patients with cystic fibrosis who have the Gly551Asp-CFTR mutation: a phase 3, open-label extension study (PERSIST). Lancet Respir Med 2014; 2:902–910.
32. Kerem E, Konstan MW, De Boeck K, et al Ataluren for the treatment of nonsense-mutation cystic fibrosis: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 3 trial. Lancet Respir Med 2014; 2:539–547.
33. Aoun E, Slivka A, Papachristou DJ, et al Rapid evolution from the first episode of acute pancreatitis to chronic pancreatitis in human subjects. JOP 2007; 8:573–578.
34. Aoun E, Muddana V, Papachristou GI, et al SPINK1 N34S is strongly associated with recurrent acute pancreatitis but is not a risk factor for the first or sentinel acute pancreatitis event. Am J Gastroenterol 2010; 105:446–451.
35. Masamune A, Ariga H, Kume K, et al Genetic background is different between sentinel and recurrent acute pancreatitis. J Gastroenterol Hepatol 2011; 26:974–978.
36. Threadgold J, Greenhalf W, Ellis I, et al The N34S mutation of SPINK1 (PSTI) is associated with a familial pattern of idiopathic chronic pancreatitis but does not cause the disease. Gut 2002; 50:675–681.
37. Pfützer RH, Whitcomb DC. SPINK1 mutations are associated with multiple phenotypes. Pancreatology 2001; 1:457–460.
38. Szabó A, Ludwig M, Hegyi E, et al Mesotrypsin signature mutation in a Chymotrypsin C (CTRC) variant associated with chronic pancreatitis. J Biol Chem 2015; 290:17282–17292.
39. Rosendahl J, Landt O, Bernadova J, et al CFTR, SPINK1, CTRC and PRSS1 variants in chronic pancreatitis: is the role of mutated CFTR overestimated? Gut 2013; 62:582–592.
40. Rosendahl J, Witt H, Szmola R, et al Chymotrypsin C (CTRC) variants that diminish activity or secretion are associated with chronic pancreatitis. Nat Genet 2008; 40:78–82.
41. Paliwal S, Bhaskar S, Mani KR, et al Comprehensive screening of chymotrypsin C (CTRC) gene in tropical calcific pancreatitis identifies novel variants. Gut 2013; 62:1602–1606.
42. Chari ST. Diagnosis of autoimmune pancreatitis using its five cardinal features: introducing the Mayo Clinic's HISORt criteria. J Gastroenterol 2007; 42 (suppl 18):39–41.
43. Ketwaroo GA, Sheth S. Autoimmune pancreatitis. Int J Dev Biol 2013; 1:27–32.
44. Friedlander J, Quiros JA, Morgan T, et al Diagnosis of autoimmune pancreatitis vs neoplasms in children with pancreatic mass and biliary obstruction. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2012; 10:1051–1055.
45. Galloway DP, Wallihan D, Smith MT, et al An unusual presentation of pediatric autoimmune pancreatitis. Pancreas 2016; 45:e1–e2.
46. Sadr-Azodi O, Sanders DS, Murray JA, et al Patients with celiac disease have an increased risk for pancreatitis. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2012; 10:1136–1142.
47. Lindkvist B. Diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic exocrine insufficiency. World J Gastroenterol 2013; 19:7258–7266.
48. Rickels MR, Bellin M, Toledo FGS, et al Detection, evaluation and treatment of diabetes mellitus in chronic pancreatitis: recommendations from PancreasFest 2012. Pancreatology 2013; 13:336–342.
49. Pichler J, Meyer R, Köglmeier J, et al Nutritional status in children with Shwachman-diamond syndrome. Pancreas 2015; 44:590–595.
50. Dodge JA, Turck D. Cystic fibrosis: nutritional consequences and management. Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol 2006; 20:531–546.

autoimmune pancreatitis; CFTR; hereditary pancreatitis; pancreatic insufficiency; PRSS1

Supplemental Digital Content

Back to Top | Article Outline
© 2017 by European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition and North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology,