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Keywords:

  • children;
  • diagnosis;
  • endoscopy;
  • esophagogastroduodenoscopy;
  • inflammatory bowel disease

Abstract

Introduction:  Diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and differentiation between Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC) can be difficult in children. Several previous studies suggest that esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) and biopsies are important in the initial investigation of children with suspected IBD. The aim of the present paper was to assess the importance of EGD in the initial diagnostic appraisal of children with suspected IBD.

Methods:  Children diagnosed with IBD over a 4-year period were identified from a dedicated IBD database. Retrospective chart review documented presenting signs and symptoms, endoscopic features in the upper and lower gastrointestinal tract and histological findings on mucosal biopsies.

Results:  Eighty-six children were diagnosed with IBD of whom 61 (70.9%) had CD, 13 (21.3%) UC, and the remainder, indeterminate colitis. Esophagogastroduodenoscopy was performed in 76 (88.4%). Nine children were diagnosed with IBD solely on the basis of information obtained following EGD. None of these children had colitis and all had abnormal histological findings on review of mucosal biopsies from the upper gastrointestinal tract. Thirteen (23.6%) of 55 children with CD had granulomas noted within biopsies obtained during EGD and another 20 had significant inflammatory changes on histological examination of upper gastrointestinal tract biopsies. Crohn's disease was diagnosed in 25 of 38 children with pan-colitis. Thirteen children were correctly classified as having CD only following assessment of their upper gastrointestinal tract. This included the presence of upper gut granulomata in eight children.

Conclusion:  The performance of EGD in these children with IBD provided additional diagnostic yield and guided the differentiation of disease type in many patients. Esophagogastroduodenoscopy is an essential component in the initial diagnostic assessment of children with possible CD or UC.

© 2005 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd