Differentiation Between Crohn Disease and Intestinal Tuberculosis in Children

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The aim of the study was to evaluate clinical, endoscopic, radiologic, and histopathological features helpful in differentiating Crohn disease (CD) from intestinal tuberculosis (ITB) in children.


Patients diagnosed to have CD or ITB based on standard recommended criteria were enrolled. Children with inflammatory bowel disease unclassified or suspected ITB or CD with incomplete work-up or lost to follow-up were excluded. The clinical and laboratory (radiology, endoscopy, and histology) details of children were analyzed.


Twenty cases of ITB (14 [3–17] years) and 23 of CD (11 [1–17] years) were enrolled. Presentation with chronic diarrhea (82% vs 40%; P = 0.006) and blood in stool (74% vs 10%; P = 0.001) favored CD, whereas subacute intestinal obstruction (20% vs 0%; P = 0.04) and ascites (30% vs 0%; P = 0.005) favored ITB. Presence of deep ulcers (61% vs 30%; P = 0.04), longitudinal ulcers (48% vs 15%; P = 0.02), involvement of multiple colonic segments (70% vs 35%; P = 0.02), left-sided colon (87% vs 40%; P = 0.003), extraintestinal manifestations (21.7% vs 0%; P = 0.02), and higher platelet count (3.9 vs 2.6 × 105/mm3; P = 0.02) favored CD. Isolated ileocecal involvement (40% vs 8.7%; P = 0.03) was a feature of ITB. TB bacilli were demonstrated in 40% ITB cases (colon-6, ascites-1, abdominal lymph node-1). On multivariate analysis, presence of blood in stool (odds ratio: 37.5 [confidence interval: 3.85–365.72], P = 0.002) and left-sided colonic involvement (odds ratio: 16.2 [confidence interval: 1.63–161.98], P = 0.02) were independent predictors of CD.


Microbiologic confirmation of tuberculosis is possible in 40% ITB cases. Presence of blood in stool and left-sided colonic involvement are the most important features favoring CD.

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