It is unknown to what extent coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) may co-occur with acute pancreatitis (AP) in children and how their clinical course may differ from children with AP alone.
An online survey was sent to pediatric gastroenterologists to report on COVID-19 and AP cases from December 11, 2020, to February 26, 2021.
From 72 respondents (20 countries, 5 continents), 22 cases of positive COVID-19 infection and AP were reported. Patients were predominantly White or Hispanic/Latinx (73%), female (68%), and adolescents (68%). For 86% of patients, this was their first episode of AP. Sixty-eight percent of positive COVID-19 tests were polymerase chain reaction based. There was significant morbidity; 60% required intensive care, 45% had multiorgan involvement, and 24% developed shock. Eleven percent had pancreatic necrosis. Abnormal clotting and systemic inflammatory laboratories were common (31%-92% and 93%, respectively). Median length of symptomatic pancreatitis recovery was 1.8× longer than AP without COVID-19.
Coronavirus 2019 infection and AP co-occur primarily in children without a prior history of pancreatitis. Given the increased need for intensive care, multiorgan involvement, and potentially higher risk for pancreatic necrosis, pediatric providers should have a high level of suspicion for AP in children with COVID-19 infection.