Pediatric inflammatory bowel disease

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Abstract

Purpose of this review

The prevalence of early-onset inflammatory bowel disease has been on the rise, with children and adolescents currently accounting for approximately 30% of all patients with this condition. Remarkable new advances in diagnostic modalities and therapy for adults with inflammatory bowel disease, and further information about the role of genetics in determining susceptibility to disease make the review of the recent literature in pediatric inflammatory bowel disease more timely than ever.

Recent findings

In the area of genetics, new studies provide strong evidence for genetic susceptibility to disease, and match genotype with phenotypic presentation. A few studies examine the use of noninvasive diagnostic modalities, such as MRI, and biomarkers (fecal lactoferrin) in pediatric inflammatory bowel disease. Remarkable new agents in therapy for adults with inflammatory bowel disease have been empirically administered to children with inflammatory bowel disease. The first attempts to systematically study the effects of these agents in children and adolescents are reviewed here. Furthermore, new studies revise our notion of surgical outcomes in pediatric inflammatory bowel disease.

Summary

Although premature for clinical practice application, the role of genetic testing in determining disease susceptibility and assisting with prognosis and course of therapy is clearly evolving and needs further study. As new therapeutic agents join the available treatments of inflammatory bowel disease it is imperative to include pediatric patients in clinical trials. The goals of future studies will be to alter the natural history of early-onset inflammatory bowel disease, reduce the frequency of recurrences, and perhaps reduce requirements for surgical intervention.

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