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.
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. Seattle Children’s has been named a National Pancreas Foundation (NPF) Pancreatitis Center for meeting the NFP’s critera for treating the whole patient with a focus on the best possible outcomes and an improved quality of life.
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 and is accredited by the National Pancreas Foundation.
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. As one of 14 pediatric hospitals in the world participating in a study on childhood pancreatitis, our investigators' work aims to better understand recurrent and chronic pancreatitis in children. The goal of this research, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is to create better treatments for pancreatitis. Learn more about the pediatric pancreatitis research project.
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?
- Matthew Giefer, MD, director, Pancreatitis Clinic
- Doris Taylor, RN, gastroenterology and hepatology nurse
- Gary A. Walco, PhD, director, Pain Medicine
- See Wan Tham, MB BS, pain medicine doctor
- Rachel Kay, MS, RDN, CD, CNSC, dietitian
Based on your child’s needs, the team will include other healthcare providers, such as surgeons.