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Benign pancreatic hyperenzymemia in children


One of us recently described chronic pancreatic hyperenzymemia in the absence of pancreatic or other disease in adult subjects. The aim of the present study was to describe this form of pancreatic hyperenzymemia in children. The study involved 15 children with this condition seen from September 1996 to December 2004. After initial evaluation, each child was seen by us once annually until the end of the study. Each check-up included serum amylase (normal values 20–220 IU/L), pancreatic isoamylase (17–115 IU/L) and lipase (24–270 IU/L) determinations as well as abdominal ultrasound. In six children, fecal elastase was also determined. At the initial assessment, 13 of the 15 children had abnormal serum increases in all three enzymes, one showed an increase only in lipase, and in the remaining child all three enzymes were present in normal concentrations. These latter two children had had abnormally elevated levels of all enzymes at the examination performed before this study began. During follow-up, enzyme concentrations remained abnormally elevated, although with wide fluctuations and transient normalizations. Considering the highest values of enzymes found in the various examinations performed during this study, the increase over the upper normal limit was in the range of 1.5- to 5.2-fold for amylase, 2.2-to 8.0-fold for pancreatic isoamylase, and 2.0- to 15.4-fold for lipase. Fecal elastase was normal in the six children in whom it was measured. No child had evidence of pancreatic or other disease, either at initial evaluation or during follow-up. The results of this study describe benign pancreatic hyperenzymemia in children. Although it is a benign condition, awareness of it is important to avoid unnecessary concern and multiple diagnostic procedures.

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We would like to thank Miss Janice Capan for her support in translation of the manuscript, Mrs. Silvana Borghini and Miss Eleonora Capelli for technical support, and Miss Simonetta Righi for bibliographical assistance.

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Correspondence to Lucio Gullo.

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Gullo, L., Migliori, M. Benign pancreatic hyperenzymemia in children. Eur J Pediatr 166, 125–129 (2007).

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  • Amylase
  • Lipase
  • Pancreatic hyperenzymemia
  • Children
  • Benign pancreatic hyperenzymemia