What is the Pancreatitis Clinic?

Seattle Children’s Pancreatitis Clinic provides comprehensive, team-based care for children and adolescents with acute recurrent pancreatitis or chronic pancreatitis as well as related conditions like pancreatic insufficiency.

Children and teens with these forms of pancreatitis need long-term expert care to get an accurate diagnosis, control symptoms and prevent or manage complications.

Many children face challenges, like pain, diarrhea and growth problems, for months or years before they get the correct diagnosis. Then they might be told there is not much doctors can do. This may happen because most doctors do not see recurrent or chronic pancreatitis often in young people.

In fact, treatment from experienced childhood pancreatitis specialists can help. Seattle Children’s Pancreatitis Clinic brings these specialists together to tailor care to your child and family.

How will the Pancreatitis Clinic meet my child’s needs?

Seattle Children’s Pancreatitis Clinic is the only multidisciplinary clinic in the Pacific Northwest for recurrent and chronic pancreatitis in children and teens.

The clinic brings together experts from gastroenterology, nutrition, pain medicine and other fields in one place to evaluate and address the many healthcare needs your child may have.

The experts you need are here

The causes and effects of recurrent and chronic pancreatitis are not the same in children as in adults. Children need care from pediatric experts who understand the differences — like how to ensure your child digests the nutrients they need for proper growth. Seattle Children’s Pancreatitis Clinic has these experts.

Dr. Matthew Giefer, who leads the clinic, is one of only a handful of doctors in the country who specialize in pediatric pancreatitis. He is an expert in diagnosing and treating the most complex gastrointestinal and pancreatic issues in children.

Complete, coordinated treatment

Seattle Children’s is the only pediatric hospital in the Pacific Northwest with the expertise to provide the intensive therapies your child may need and to manage the complications that may happen when the pancreas is inflamed or damaged. We offer a range of treatments, from enzyme replacements and pain medicines to endoscopic procedures, feeding tubes and surgery.

We have the region’s only pediatric ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography) and Therapeutic Endoscopy Program to treat pancreatitis. Giefer is one of the few pediatric providers nationwide who does these specialized endoscopic procedures himself. He directs Seattle Children’s Endoscopy Program.

Better outcomes with evidence-based practices

Seattle Children’s is a leader in evidence-based care for childhood pancreatitis. When research showed it is safe to feed children early in an acute attack and early feeding leads to better outcomes for children and shorter hospital stays, we were quick to respond. We developed pancreatitis nutrition guidelines to ensure all of our doctors provide the best care.

We are active in research to advance pediatric care

Most research on pancreatitis has been done only with adults. Our pancreatitis team takes part in the INSPPIRE Pediatric Pancreatitis Research Project, an international effort to better understand pancreatitis in children. INSPPIRE’s goal is to discover how to prevent recurrent episodes of acute pancreatitis and keep acute disease from becoming chronic. By pooling data from their patients who volunteer, the 14 centers in the network hope to find answers more quickly than any one center could alone.

Contact Us

To make an appointment with Seattle Children’s Gastroenterology and Hepatology, which includes our Pancreatitis Clinic for recurrent or chronic pancreatitis, ask your child’s primary care doctor or another specialist for a referral.

If you have a referral or would like a second opinion, call 206-987-2521.

Who’s on the team?

Based on your child’s needs, the team will include other healthcare providers, such as surgeons.