Pediatric Adoption of “Treat to Target” & Difficulty “Unlearning”

A good article for the next journal club: Clinical Practice Survey of Repeat Endoscopy in Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease in North America (J Moses et al. JPGN 2021; 73: 61-66)

Key findings:

  • 65% of respondents (n=238 of 2300 responded to survey) perform repeat endoscopy to assess for endoscopic remission in pediatric IBD as part of routine clinical practice (usually 9 to 12 months later)
  • “Symptoms are not sufficient to follow IBD patients” was reported by 82% of those who repeat endoscopy
  • “I perform endoscopy based on clinical, biomarker, and/or imaging trends” was reported by 81% of those who do not repeat endoscopy
  • In those inclined to do repeat endoscopy (n=134 total), the authors state there was a significant difference based on years in practice but this is difficult to discern based on the data presented in Table 1; the numbers in both groups are much greater than the number of total patients in each group. They state in the repeat endoscopy group (n=134), the practitioner experience was n=58 (1-5 yrs), n=43 (6-10 yrs), n= 34 (11-15 yrs), and 70 (>15 yrs) and the “no repeat group” (n=67 total) was n=43 (1-5 yrs), n=33 (6-10 yrs), n=21 (11-15 yrs), and n=37 (>15 yrs). Apparently, according to the discussion, those in practice more than 15 years were less likely to recommend a ‘treat-to-target’ endoscopy.
  • There is also a discrepancy in the report with regard to ImproveCareNow participation, stated to be 63% in the abstract and 71% in the results section

Discussion: I would propose that the first part of a journal club start with these two lines from the discussion: “As the paradigm of clinical endpoints has evolved in the management of IBD, there has been a shift from using clinical symptoms to drive major therapeutic decisions to using endoscopic assessment. This lag time to adopt new practices in medicine has been highlighted in research demonstrating the slow adoption of new clinical practices by physicians, possibly related to the difficulty with “unlearning” common practices and shifting to new ones.” As an aside, 77% of the survey respondents were in an academic practice; it would be fun to see how the section chief views this assertion.

While the majority of survey respondents supported repeat endoscopy in all patients, the discussion point above is making a different distinction (“drive major therapeutic decisions”). I think a much higher proportion of practitioners would endorse endoscopy prior to major therapeutic decisions. However, with regard to supporting more widespread routine followup in all of those in clinical remission, the discussion references data from a single retrospective pediatric cohort study with 104 patients (Inflamm Bowel Dis 2017; 23: 1447-1453), that 30% of patients in clinical remission had active disease on endoscopy.

My take: As alluded to in the conclusion, long-term data from prospective studies are needed to determine the benefit (or lack of benefit) of followup endoscopy, especially in patients with combined clinical/biomarker remission.

Related blog posts:

3 thoughts on “Pediatric Adoption of “Treat to Target” & Difficulty “Unlearning”

  1. The articles by Salvatore Oliva et al comparing pan-enteric capsule endoscopy, ileocolonoscopy, MRE, calprotectin and labs on a standardized protocol, with a treat to target strategy, showed that clinical and deep remission was effectively achieved more frequently (and that pan-enteric endoscopy was the superior modality in this cohort).   

  2. Pingback: The Really Simplified Endoscopy Scoring | gutsandgrowth

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