Inflammatory Bowel Disease Developing in Paediatric and Adult Age

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Background and Objective:

In recent decades, there has been a significant increase in the incidence of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It has yet to be established whether the manifestations of IBD are similar in paediatric and adult ages. The objective of this study was to compare the phenotypic expression of the disease between patients with childhood-onset IBD and adulthood-onset cases, all afferent to the same clinical centre.

Patients and Methods:

Descriptive and multivariate analyses were completed on retrospective and prospective data of paediatric-onset and adult-onset consecutive cases who were diagnosed and followed at the same tertiary referral hospital of the University of Padua, Italy, during a period of 14 years (1994–2008). Paediatric-onset patients were further divided into age brackets (0–5, 6–12, and 13–17 year-olds). Analyses were conducted using the SAS package, version 9.1 (SAS Institute Inc, Cary, NC).


Three hundred twelve patients were analysed. At disease onset, the manifestations which were more frequent among the 133 paediatric patients (50.4% with diagnosis of Crohn disease [CD], 43.6% with ulcerative colitis, and 6% with unclassified IBD) with respect to the adult-onset patients were perianal disease (12.8%) (P < 0.0001) and extraintestinal manifestations (14.3%) (P = 0.043). Among the 179 adult patients (55.3% with diagnosis of ulcerative colitis, 36.3% with CD, and 8.3% with unclassified IBD) instead, severe abdominal pain (P = 0.008), diarrhoea (P = 0.005), and anorexia (P < 0.0001) were more frequently observed. During the follow-up, the presence of extraintestinal manifestations (50.4%) (P = 0.005) and perianal disease (44.8% of the patients with childhood-onset CD) (P = 0.006) was observed more often in the paediatric-onset group.


In our cases, the phenotypic expression of IBD developing in paediatric age differs from that seen in adults.

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