Can kids outgrow pancreatic insufficiency?
What current research says about healing from EPI-
Aminu Mohammed is a pediatric gastroenterologist at GI Care for Kids, where he leads the efforts on pancreatic disorders.
The answer is yes—at least a few kids do outgrow exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI). Their cases are called "Transient EPI." A recent study from Israel looked at 43 kids, between 1 month and 18 years of age, who had EPI over a 9-year period.
They were able to gather information on 17 kids who outgrew the condition. The kids were 3 years old, on average, when a stool test and fecal elastase showed they had EPI. The youngest was only a few months old and the oldest was 15 years old. There were almost twice as many girls (11) as boys (6). They either had diarrhea, poor weight gain, failure to thrive or both. They were otherwise healthy, with all other tests normal.
The kids' symptoms improved over 3 ½ months on average, although 3 kids improved within a month and another took 2 years to improve. Nine of the kids were treated with PERT (pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy) until their stool test for EPI was normal which took an average of 6 months and up to 4 years for 1 child.
J Garah and others, Journal Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition 2019; pages 574-7.
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