Paediatric pancreatic trauma: A review of the literature and results of a multicentre survey on patient management

  • C Westgarth-Taylor
  • J Loveland


Background. It is generally accepted that paediatric solid organ injury should be treated conservatively, unless there is haemodynamic instability unresponsive to resuscitation. When it comes to pancreatic trauma, there is much debate about appropriate management.
Objectives. To review the literature and determine how pancreatic trauma is managed in South African (SA) tertiary institutions and compares with international standards.
Method. A survey was emailed to 45 paediatric surgical consultants working in various paediatric surgical units in SA, Italy, England and Australia. The questionnaire comprised two scenarios of isolated pancreatic trauma (gradeIII), the main difference between them being the time interval between initial injury and presentation. In the first scenario, the patient presented 6 hours post injury whereas in the second scenario, the patient presented 6 days post initial injury. The survey enquired about diagnosis and subsequent work-up (including preferred imaging techniques), supportive management (including nutrition), the various options of definitive intervention and follow-up procedure.
Results. There were 21 responders from four different countries. In the first scenario, 10 surgeons would operate, 8 would treat conservatively and 3 would perform an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatogram (ERCP) and stent. In the second scenario, 4 surgeons would operate, 13 would treat conservatively and 4 would undertake ERCP with stent. There was no difference in management between the SA surgeons and their international counterparts.
Conclusion. Management of blunt pancreatic trauma in SA is consistent with that reported in the literature. There is still controversy regarding the optimal management of pancreatic injury involving ducts. No absolute algorithm can be used to treat these patients. All patients should be treated individually and managed with an approach and techniques that are feasible.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0256-95749
print ISSN: 2078-5135