The Changing Face of Pediatric Ulcerative Colitis: A Population-based Cohort Study

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The aims of this retrospective study were to describe ulcerative colitis (UC) phenotype at diagnosis and follow-up and to identify possible predictors of severe disease course.


This was a retrospective, single-center study. We reviewed the charts of patients with UC diagnosed between 2 and 18 years at our referral center from January 2007 to January 2016. Laboratory and clinical features at diagnosis, such as disease extent, atypical phenotypes, extraintestinal manifestations, and therapies, and pattern changes during the follow-up, including relapse rate, disease extension, and the cumulative risk for colectomy were collected.


One hundred eleven patients were enrolled. Atypical phenotypes were identified at diagnosis in 55 out of 111 patients (49.5%). Extraintestinal manifestations were detected in 16 out of 111 (14.4%) at the diagnosis. During the follow-up 60 out of 111 (54%) patients needed to start azathioprine, 9 out of 111 (8.1%) patients started biologic therapy and 10 out of 111 (patients underwent surgery, resulting in a cumulative risk of 8% at 5 years and 16% at 10 years. Steroid refractoriness (hazard ratio: 13.9) and starting of biologic therapy (hazard ratio: 25.3) represented the best predictors for surgery. The cumulative probability of first relapse was 47% at 6 months and 63% at 1 year. Disease extension was reported in 21 out of 70 patients (30%).


Pediatric UC is associated with a severe phenotype and a high percentage of atypical features. Surgery rate seems to be decreased from early reports.

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