Pancreas Center

Treating Each Patient as a Whole to Achieve Best Possible Outcomes

Total Pancreatectomy with Islet Autotransplantation (TPIAT)

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Pancreas Center

The Pancreas Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital provides comprehensive multidisciplinary care for infants, children and teens suffering from diseases of the pancreas. Accredited by the National Pancreas Foundation, our approach to care places the patient at the center of a multidisciplinary team that focuses on treating the patient as a whole to achieve the best possible outcomes and quality of life.

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Nationwide Children's Hospital is ranked by U.S. News & World Report for Gastroenterology and GI Surgery.

About the Pancreas Center 

National Pancreas Foundation LogoThe Pancreas Center at Nationwide Children’s provides specialized, multidisciplinary care for infants, children and young adults who have pancreatic problems. Our multidisciplinary team includes physicians, surgeons and other professionals with advanced expertise in pancreatitis and related conditions.

A unique component of the Pancreas Center is our ability to treat children who have debilitating pain and impaired quality of life from acute recurrent and chronic pancreatitis with a ground-breaking surgical procedure known as total pancreatectomy with islet autotransplantation, or “TPIAT.” Nationwide Children’s is one of only a handful of children’s hospitals in the United States with expertise in TPIAT.

The Pancreas Center at Nationwide Children’s is accredited by the National Pancreas Foundation as an NPF Center – a designation awarded to only a few children’s hospitals in the United States. NPF Center accreditation is only awarded to programs that focus on multidisciplinary treatment of pancreatitis by treating the “whole patient,” aiming for the best possible outcomes and an improved quality of life.

The Pancreas Center is also a select participant of INSPPIRE (International Study Group of Pediatric Pancreatitis: In Search for a Cure), the nation’s largest research consortium dedicated to pediatric pancreatitis.

Meet Our Team

Our multidisciplinary team includes physicians, surgeons and other professionals with unique expertise in pancreatitis and related conditions. Each specialty plays a dedicated role on the care team. Working together, they ensure the course of treatment accounts for all facets of the disease and symptoms. In addition to clinical expertise, our professionals are aware of the challenges and issues that pancreatitis can present, and are able to help patients and families address those problems.

The care team includes:

Meet Our Team

Dr. Appakalai is shown wearing a white coat, standing near a window at Nationwide Children's

Meet Dr. Balamurugan Appakalai

Dr. Balamurugan Appakalai is among the world’s most experienced in processing human pancreases for clinical islet autotransplantation and allotransplantation. He has processed more than 1,500 pancreases which have been utilized for clinical auto- and allotransplantation and for islet biology research initiatives.

Diagnosing Pancreatic Disease

When a child experiences symptoms of pancreatitis, a physician may perform some of the following in order to make a diagnosis:

  • Blood and stool tests
  • CT Scan (computed tomography) or MRI of the abdomen
  • Endoscopic pancreatic stimulation test
  • Special MRI of the pancreas and biliary tree (MRCP)
  • Abdominal ultrasound (sonogram) of the abdomen
  • Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS)
  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), a specialized endoscopic procedure performed by a gastroenterologist

Treating Pancreatic Disease

Treating pancreatitis may involve some of the following:

  • Maintaining good nutrition during periods when it is difficult to eat
  • Relieving pain
  • Intravenous (IV) fluids
  • Vitamin and pancreatic enzyme supplementation
  • Removing stones from the ducts
  • Opening strictures in the ducts
  • Advanced Procedures:
    • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
    • Total pancreatectomy with islet auto-transplantation (TPIAT)
    • Draining fluid collections

Pancreas Center Resources

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

NIDDK conducts and supports research on many of the most common, costly, and chronic conditions to improve health.

GI Kids (NASPGHAN)

Children's Digestive Health Information for Kids and Parents

The National Pancreas Foundation

The National Pancreas Foundation provides an array of information for patients, caregivers and health care providers.

Animated Pancreas Patient

National Pancreas Foundation’s Animated Patient’s Guide™ to Diseases of the Pancreas.

INSPPIRE (International Study Group of Pediatric Pancreatitis: In Search for a Cure)

The nation’s largest research consortium dedicated to pediatric pancreatitis.

CAPER (Collaborative Alliance for Pancreatic Education and Research)

Promoting and encouraging the advancement of knowledge and research for pancreatic diseases by facilitating multi-center studies.

 

Pancreatic Disorders We Treat

  • Annular pancreas
  • Chronic Pancreatitis
  • Congenital abnormalities
  • Mass or cyst of the pancreas
  • Pancreas divisum
  • Pancreatic insufficiency (not related to cystic fibrosis)
  • Recurrent acute pancreatitis
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Laikyn's Story
Patient Story

Meet Laikyn

Laikyn was sick with what we thought was a virus. It wasn’t until the next day, with progressing symptoms, that I realized we were dealing with much more than a virus. When the test results came in, Laikyn had E.Coli 0157. About 4-5 days later, we were given the news that she then has HUS (Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome).