Ursodeoxycholic acid's role in avoiding diversionary surgery in idiopathic fibrosing pancreatitis


Dr Jeremy Rosenbaum, Department of Gastroenterology, The Royal Children's Hospital, Flemington Road, Parkville, Vic. 3052, Australia. Fax: +61 3 9345 6240; email: jeremy@rosenbaum.net


Obstructive jaundice in childhood is rare but a cause of great concern and warrants aggressive investigation into its aetiology. Idiopathic fibrosing pancreatitis (IFP) is a rare cause of this phenomenon and is presently a diagnosis of exclusion with lymphoma a main differential diagnosis. IFP appears to be a self limiting occurrence and as a result the previous gold standard of therapy of surgical diversion may ultimately be unnecessary. We describe ursodeoxycholic acid as a useful adjunct to treatment allowing more time for clinicians to evaluate the nature of the underlying disease process without hastily moving towards invasive surgery until clearly indicated.