Effectivity of Pancreatic Enzyme Replacement Therapy in Malnourished Children

GÜVEN B., Mis M. D. , Karaman K., Yasar A. S.

JOURNAL OF PEDIATRIC GASTROENTEROLOGY AND NUTRITION, vol.70, no.6, 2020 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier


Objective: Malnutrition is commonly seen in children with exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI). Pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy (PERT) is the mainstay treatment of acute malnutrition in children detected with a disease closely associated with EPI (eg, cystic fibrosis). The effectiveness of PERT in children with malnutrition without any chronic disease, however, remains unclear. The aim of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of PERT on weight gain and EPI in children classified as moderately and severely malnourished according to the World Health Organization (WHO) classification. Materials and Methods: The study included a total of 40 children aged 2-16 years who were classified as moderately and severely malnourished according to the WHO classification. The patients were randomly divided into 2 groups: PERT group (n = 20) received 2000 U lipase/kg/day (in 4 doses) in addition to hypercaloric enteral supplements and control group received hypercaloric enteral supplements only. In both groups, anthropometric measurements and the assessment of fecal elastase-1 (FE-1) levels were performed both at first admission and at the end of the 8-week treatment period. Results: On the basis of WHO classification, 10 (25%) children were classified as severely malnourished and 30 (75%) children as moderately malnourished. EPI was detected in all the patients, among whom 24 (60%) patients had severe EPI. At the end of the treatment, body weight, height, and body mass index (BMI) increased significantly in both groups compared to their pre-treatment values, whereas no significant difference was found with regard to waist circumference (WC) and FE-1 levels. Similarly, no significant difference was found between pre- and posttreatment measurements of PERT and control groups (P > 0.05) and between pre- and posttreatment measurements of patients with moderate and severe malnutrition (P > 0.05). Conclusions: Malnutrition remains a serious public health problem, and thus, the development of novel treatment methods is highly essential. PERT is one of the most commonly considered alternatives, although there is little documentation of PERT in the literature. In the present study, although PERT resulted in higher weight gain, it established no significant difference between the 2 groups.