Practice variability exists in the management of high-grade pediatric pancreatic trauma

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Purpose Management of high-grade pancreatic trauma in children is controversial, although recent evidence supports early operation. We sought to evaluate whether practice variability exists regarding the management of these rare and complex injuries. Methods A study group of pediatric trauma centers within the Pediatric Trauma Society completed a survey following a query of their institutional database. Results are presented using descriptive statistics. Results Over a 3-year period (2012–2014), 123 pancreatic injuries (grades II–IV) were reported from 19 pediatric trauma centers (median 6, range 1–22). Sixty-two injuries involving injury to the pancreatic duct (clear/suspected) were reported (median 1, range 0–9). Of these, 49 % were managed with non-operative management (NOM) and 51 % with operative management. Surgeons at the majority (63 %) of institutions used both approaches. Of the operative cases, 21 % were laparoscopic. There was wide variability in clinical management of NOM patients: the most common feeding strategy was reported by 52 % of centers, percutaneous drainage of traumatic pseudocyst by 42 % and ERCP (early/after pseudocyst) by 72 %. Conclusion Wide practice variability exists among North American pediatric surgeons regarding both the initial approach to high-grade pancreatic injury and non-operative management. These results highlight the need for a prospective trial to determine the optimal strategy for these patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)789-794
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Surgery International
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Non-operative management
  • Pancreatic trauma
  • Pediatrics
  • Practice variability
  • Pseudocysts
  • Survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Surgery


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