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Presenting features of inflammatory bowel disease in Great Britain and Ireland

Sawczenko, A.; Sandhu, Bhupinder


A. Sawczenko

Bhupinder Sandhu


Background: Reports from individual referral centres suggest that a significant proportion of children with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) present after prolonged delays and with impaired growth. Aims: To prospectively document the presenting features, delay in presentation, disease localisation, and growth in newly diagnosed cases of IBD. Methods: For 13 months, between June 1998 and June 1999, 3247 paediatricians, adult gastroenterologists, and surgeons across the UK and Ireland were prospectively surveyed each month and asked to report every newly diagnosed case of childhood IBD. Results: A total of 739 new IBD cases aged less than 16 years were identified. Only one quarter of Crohn's disease (CD) cases presented with the "classic triad" of diarrhoea, weight loss, and abdominal pain; nearly half did not report diarrhoea. The median delay from onset of symptoms to diagnosis was 5 months (mean 11 months), with one fifth having symptoms of more than one year. Delays were most common in CD and in younger children. Short stature was noted only in those with CD and not with ulcerative colitis. One fifth of CD cases had disease activity in the jejunum and this group had significantly reduced stature. Ileo-colonic involvement was documented in most CD cases, with only a small minority having isolated ileal or isolated colonie disease. Pan-colitis was reported in most UC cases, with very few having only an isolated proctitis. Conclusions: Many children are diagnosed after prolonged delays and have growth failure. Improved knowledge of the presenting features of IBD, and earlier investigation of suspected cases, may help reduce the delays noted.


Sawczenko, A., & Sandhu, B. (2003). Presenting features of inflammatory bowel disease in Great Britain and Ireland. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 88(11), 995-1000.

Journal Article Type Review
Publication Date Nov 1, 2003
Journal Archives of Disease in Childhood
Print ISSN 0003-9888
Electronic ISSN 1468-2044
Publisher BMJ Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 88
Issue 11
Pages 995-1000
Keywords inflammatory bowel disease, Great Britain, Ireland, children
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