JF Ludvigsson et al. J Pediatr 2021; 238: 66-73. Open Access PDF Serious Infections in Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease 2002-2017—A Nationwide Cohort Study
This study utilized the Swedish nationwide health registry (2002-2017; n = 5767 with IBD) and controls from the general population (n= 58,418). One reason for this study is the increased frequency and changing patterns of immunosuppressive medications that are being used in pediatric IBD. Key findings:
- 672 serious infections (38.6/1000 person-years) occurred among the children with IBD compared with 778 serious infections in the control group (4.0/1000 person years; adjusted HR 9.46 ). HRs were increased for children with ulcerative colitis 8.48, Crohn’s disease 9.30, and IBD unclassified 12.1
- Particularly high HRs were also seen in the first year of diagnosis with HR of 12.1 and n children with IBD undergoing surgery, HR 17.1. This 17-fold risk translates to an average of 6 per 100 children having a serious infection among those with operations.
- 340 of the 672 serious infections were gastrointestinal, including 34 due to Clostridium difficile
- 20 opportunistic infections were identified during 19,000 person-years
Potential risk factors for infection, besides medications, include malnutrition, chronic inflammation, impaired response to vaccination, and dysregulation of immune responses. A limitation of this study is ascertainment bias as families/patients with underlying disease may be more likely to seek medical attention for otherwise self-limited infections.
My take: This report confirms and quantitates daily clinical practice: children with IBD are more frequently hospitalized due to infections.
Related blog post: Infection or Flareup in IBD: GI PCR Panel Helps