Delays in diagnosing Crohn’s disease

Delayed diagnosis remains a problem in Crohn’s disease (Inflamm Bowel Dis 2012; 18: 496-505).  This study included a total of 1591 IBD patients (932 CD, 625 UC, 34 indeterminate colitis) from the Swiss IBD cohort study (SIBDCS).

  • Diagnostic delay in CD patients was significantly longer compared to UC patients (median 9 versus 4 months, P < 0.001).
  • 75% of CD patients were diagnosed within 24 months compared to 12 months for UC and 6 months for IC patients.
  •  Independent risk factors for long diagnostic delay in CD (>24 months)  included age <40 years at diagnosis (odds ratio [OR] 2.15, P = 0.010) and ileal disease (OR 1.69, P = 0.025)
  • In UC patients, nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug (NSAID intake (OR 1.75, P = 0.093) and male gender (OR 0.59, P = 0.079) were associated with long diagnostic delay (>12 months)

Diagnostic delay has been a problem for quite a long time; in children, delays can worsen growth failure.  In 1988, Kanof et al reported that decreased height velocity preceded the diagnosis of CD in 88% of their patients (pediatric cohort). In addition, 42% of their population had a reduction in height velocity before intestinal symptoms were noted.

Especially when there is not a lot of colonic disease, a high degree of suspicion needs to be maintained.  This is not difficult for pediatric gastroenterologists.  For pediatricians and family physicians, the increased availability of biomarkers (Biomarkers identify patients who benefit and how) should be helpful in reducing diagnostic delays.

Additional blog entries and references:

  • Kanof ME, Lake AM, Bayless TM. Decreased height velocity in children and adolescents before the diagnosis of Crohn’s disease. Gastroenterology.1988; 95 :1523– 1527.
  • Differentiating ulcerative colitis from Crohn disease in children and young adults: report of a working group of the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition and the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.  North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, Colitis Foundation of America, Bousvaros A, Antonioli DA, Colletti RB, Dubinsky MC, Glickman JN, Gold BD, Griffiths AM, Jevon GP, et al.J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2007 May; 44(5):653-74.

1 thought on “Delays in diagnosing Crohn’s disease

  1. Pingback: Outcomes Associated with Delayed Diagnosis in Pediatric Crohn’s Disease | gutsandgrowth

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