A photo of David Vitale

David S. Vitale, MD

  • Attending Physician, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition
  • Pancreas Care Center
  • Assistant Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics



As a pediatric gastroenterologist, I care for children with complex pancreas, biliary and other gastrointestinal diseases.

I know that decisions in medicine, gastroenterology and specifically pancreatitis are not always clear-cut. I closely involve my patients and their families in the decision-making process about their care and work to understand how they approach their condition. I listen to their concerns and answer their questions. Together, we find the best individualized treatment plan.

I specialize in advanced pediatric endoscopic techniques, including pediatric endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), endoscopic ultrasound (EUS), double balloon enteroscopy (DBE) and endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR), among other advanced techniques. As a member of Cincinnati Children’s Pancreas Care Center, I care for children with complex pancreatic and biliary disease and other gastrointestinal problems requiring advanced endoscopic techniques.

My strong interest in biliary and pancreatic disease and advanced endoscopy began in high school, when I first learned about this area of medicine. I trained in residency and fellowship to care for both children and adults. As I continued to train, I knew I wanted to care for patients with these disease processes and learn advanced endoscopy to help them.

Although fewer children require advanced endoscopy procedures than adults, there are few pediatric endoscopy specialists and few gastroenterologists who focus on pediatric pancreatic and biliary disease. The need for pediatric endoscopy and pancreatic specialists, combined with the fact that working with children is much more fun, made my career choice an easy one.

My research focuses on investigating the safety and outcomes for pediatric advanced endoscopic procedures. Additionally, I am studying pancreatitis to learn why some patients develop severe or chronic pancreatitis, while others do not.

When I’m not at work, I enjoy spending time with my family and our two dogs. I also love to cook, hike and travel.


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Cytokine Profile Elevations on Admission Can Determine Risks of Severe Acute Pancreatitis in Children. Farrell, PR; Jones, EK; Hornung, L; Thompson, T; Patel, J; Lin, TK; Nathan, JD; Vitale, DS; Habtezion, A; Abu-El-Haija, M. Journal of Pediatrics. 2021; 238:33-41.e4.

Trends in Pediatric Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography and Interventional Endoscopy. Vitale, DS; Lin, TK. Journal of Pediatrics. 2021; 232:10-12.

Clinical Outcomes Following Therapeutic Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography in Children With Pancreas Divisum. Lin, TK; Pathak, SJ; Vitale, DS; Nathan, JD; Abu-El-Haija, M. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. 2021; 72:300-305.

Who's at Risk? A Prognostic Model for Severity Prediction in Pediatric Acute Pancreatitis. Farrell, PR; Hornung, L; Farmer, P; DesPain, AW; Kim, E; Pearman, R; Neway, B; Serrette, A; Sehgal, S; Heubi, JE; et al. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. 2020; 71:536-542.

Society Guidelines-Where Is the Consensus?. Vitale, DS; Kwok, KK; Liu, QY. Gastrointestinal Endoscopy Clinics of North America. 2020; 30:763-779.

Drug induced pancreatitis is the leading known cause of first attack acute pancreatitis in children. Abu-El-Haija, M; Hornung, L; Lin, TK; Nathan, JD; Thompson, T; Vitale, DS; Nasr, A; Husain, SZ; Denson, L. Pancreatology. 2020; 20:1103-1108.

The Roles of EUS and ERCP in the Evaluation and Treatment of Chronic Pancreatitis in Children: A Position Paper from the NASPGHAN Pancreas Committee. Liu, QY; Gugig, R; Troendle, DM; Bitton, S; Patel, N; Vitale, DS; Abu-El-Haija, M; Husain, SZ; Morinville, VD. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. 2020.

Sensitivity of Biochemical and Imaging Findings for the Diagnosis of Acute Pancreatitis in Children. Orkin, SH; Trout, AT; Fei, L; Lin, TK; Nathan, JD; Thompson, T; Vitale, DS; Abu-El-Haija, M. Journal of Pediatrics. 2019; 213:143-148.e2.

Tu1435 – Matrix Metalloproteinases and Their Tissue Inhibitors Predict Severity in Pediatric Pancreatitis. Vitale, DS; Lahni, P; Thompson, T; Fei, L; Wong, H; Abu-El-Haija, M. Gastroenterology. 2019; 156.

Blood Urea Nitrogen Elevation Is a Marker for Pediatric Severe Acute Pancreatitis. Vitale, DS; Hornung, L; Lin, TK; Nathan, JD; Prasad, S; Thompson, T; Abu-El-Haija, M. Pancreas. 2019; 48:363-366.

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