Recurrent acute and chronic pediatric pancreatitis is associated with a high rate of repeat hospitalizations and associated costs, according to 2 studies published in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition.

After their first pancreatitis attack, 42% of children had repeat hospitalizations. Patients with recurrent acute or chronic pediatric pancreatitis accrue annual healthcare costs of approximately $40,000 per person.

The first study used a national health database to determine hospitalization rates for pediatric pancreatitis. Between 2002 and 2014, 10,650 children and adolescents were hospitalized for acute pancreatitis. During that same time, about 4,500 (42%) of these patients had repeat hospital admissions for recurrent pancreatitis.

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The children who had repeat hospitalizations had, in total, almost 16,000 hospitalizations among them, with a median of 2 per child. Younger children and children who had a more severe initial pancreatitis episode had a higher risk of repeat hospitalizations for acute recurrent pancreatitis.

The second study focused on hospital-related costs, using a cohort of 224 children with acute recurrent or chronic pancreatitis from the INSPPIRE group. Of these children, 42% had chronic pancreatitis.

The researchers found that the mean number of hospitalizations per patient per year was 2.3, accounting for an average annual healthcare cost of approximately $38,755 per patient. Factoring in the cost of medications increased this amount – annual medication costs per patient were $4,114 for pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy, $1,761 for diabetic medications, and $614 for pain medications.

Children who had more frequent pancreatitis attacks, constant or recurring pain, a family history of pancreatic cancer, and a need for pain medications were more likely to have higher associated costs.


  1. Pant C, Sferra TJ, Lee BR, et al. Acute Recurrent Pancreatitis in Children: a Study from the PEDIATRIC Health Information System. J Pediatr Gastr Nutr. Published online ahead of print. doi:10.1097/MPG.0000000000001058.
  2. Ting J, Wilson L, Schwarzenberg SJ, et al. Direct Costs of Acute Recurrent and Chronic Pancreatitis in Children in the INSPPIRE Registry. J Pediatr Gastr Nutr. Published online ahead of print. doi:10.1097/MPG.0000000000001057