45 Years –The New Recommendation for Colorectal Cancer Screening

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Hepatitis C in 2020: NASPGHAN Position Paper

DH Leung et al. JPGN 2020; 71: 407-17.  Full Text: Hepatitis C in 2020: A North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition Position Paper

This is a very useful summary and some important recommendations –here are a few:

  • Direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) which …[are] highly effective antiviral agents are now approved for use in children as young as 3 years of age and have demonstrated sustained virologic responses exceeding 90% in most genotypes
  • We recommend treatment be considered and offered to all children with chronic HCV as early as 3 years of age with currently approved and anticipated DAA combination therapies.
  • Currently, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends anti-HCV antibody screening of children with maternal HCV risk factors at 18 months of age, when detection of passively acquired transplacental immunoglobulin G should have waned … Waiting until 18 months of age or older is, however, frequently unpalatable for parents and physicians concerned about reliable follow-up. Therefore, after the infant is 2 months of age, the AASLD-IDSA HCV Guidance Panel suggests consideration of examining serum HCV RNA by polymerase chain reaction (PCR)
  • Interestingly, in the image below, the authors note that most children are asymptomatic; however, the figure suggests the possibility of thyroid disease.  In the text of the article: ” Extrahepatic manifestations of chronic hepatitis C, including membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis, thyroid dysfunction with or without thyroid autoimmune disease, and the development of nonorgan specific antibodies, are exceedingly rare

Recommended Resources for Pediatric Gastrointestinal and Liver Providers

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Disclaimer: This blog, gutsandgrowth, assumes no responsibility for any use or operation of any method, product, instruction, concept or idea contained in the material herein or for any injury or damage to persons or property (whether products liability, negligence or otherwise) resulting from such use or operation. These blog posts are for educational purposes only. Specific dosing of medications (along with potential adverse effects) should be confirmed by prescribing physician.  Because of rapid advances in the medical sciences, the gutsandgrowth blog cautions that independent verification should be made of diagnosis and drug dosages. The reader is solely responsible for the conduct of any suggested test or procedure.  This content is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a condition

NOT Screening At-Risk Infants for Hepatitis C

A recent study (S Lopata et al. Pediatrics 2020; 145: e20192482. Link to Abstract/Video: Hepatitis C Testing Among Perinatally Exposed Infants) was well-summarized in a recent practical gastroenterology issue: Full link: Hepatitis C Screening of Infants

An excerpt:

  • During the study period, 384,837 mother-infant dyads were enrolled in the Tennessee Medicaid program, and 4072 of these mothers had HCV during pregnancy…
  • The prevalence of infants with exposure to HCV increased significantly throughout the study with 5.1 infants exposed to HCV per 1000 live births in 2005 and 22.7 infants exposed to HCV per 1000 live births in 2015 with 92.9% of the mothers of these children being white.
  • Only 946 infants (23%) exposed to HCV had HCV testing in the first 2 years of life, and 354 of these infants (41%) had testing per recommended national guidelines…
  • Infants who were exposed to HCV and who were African American or who lived in rural areas next to metropolitan areas were significantly less likely to have HCV testing.

My take: As with adults, this study shows that selective HCV testing is a messy proposition.  This study shows that more than 75% of at risk infants are not being tested for HCV.  Now that curative treatment is available, more needs to be done to address this public health failure.

IBD Depression Screening

LM Mackner et al. JPGN 2020; 70: 42-47. Bonney Reed, our psychologist at GI Care for Kids is one of the authors as well.

Key points:

  • Recommendation #1: Screen adolescents with IBD ages 12 and older for depression annually.
  • Recommendation #2: Screening Measures
    Age 12 years: Moods and Feelings Questionnaire, Short Form (MFQ-SF) ; age 13: Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9)
  • Recommendation #3: Evaluate youth who endorse SI (eg, PHQ-9 item # 9) further
    per clinic protocol or via a suicide screener, such as the Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS)
  • Recommendation #4: Educational Resources. Provide patients, families, and other clinicians with educational resources as needed. An additional aim of our tool kit is to give GI providers resources to assist patients, families, and other clinicians
  • Resources for modules 1-4, Supplemental Digital Content http://links.lww.com/MPG/B721

My take (borrowed from authors): “Implementing depression screening in a busy clinic may seem like a daunting task and is likely to require changes in workflow and procedures. Nonetheless, optimal IBD care treats all aspects of health, and identifying depression symptoms, that often go undetected and can affect IBD outcomes, benefits patients, families, and providers.”  In our office, we have implemented screening and there is now a smartform available in EPIC.  We are fortunate to work closely with psychologists who can help when there is an abnormal screen.

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Disclaimer: These blog posts are for educational purposes only. Specific dosing of medications/diets (along with potential adverse effects) should be confirmed by prescribing physician/nutritionist.  This content is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a condition.

Weak Link in Celiac Screening Guidelines

A recent study (AS Faye et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2019; 17: 463-8) finds a weak link in the screening guidelines for celiac disease. Generally, guidelines recommend screening all symptomatic first degree relatives and consider screening of asymptomatic first-degree relatives.  Yet, little is known about adherence to these guidelines.

The authors utilized emergency contact information from the electronic records of 2081 patients with biospy-diagnosed celiac disease to assess how commonly celiac disease testing occurs in patients who are first-degree relatives.

Key findings:

  • Of the 539 relatives identified, 212 (39.3%) were tested for celiac disease including 193 of 383 (50.4%) of first-degree relatives and 118 of 165 (71.5%) of symptomatic first-degree relatives.
  • Of the 383 first-degree relatives, only 116 (30.3%) had a documented family history of celiac disease.

Thus, this study shows that ~30% of symptomatic first degree relatives have not received celiac testing and that ~70% of all first-degree relatives do not have a documented family history.

My take: If a family history of celiac disease is not conveyed to health care providers, this greatly reduces the likelihood that symptomatic first degree relatives will undergo recommended screening. This weakness in screening could be overcome by either:

  1. changing to a policy which encourages screening all first degree relatives, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic
  2. leveraging technology (when feasible) to assure that family history is documented in all at risk patients

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Shenandoah National Park


Caution with Celiac Genetic Testing Plus Two

Conventional wisdom and previous studies have indicated that negative testing for HLA-DQ8 and HLD-DQ2.5 alleles makes a diagnosis of celiac disease (CD), now or in the future, very unlikely.  While ~60% of the population has one of these alleles, testing negative for these alleles has been regarded as having a high negative predictive value (>99%) and can be valuable in cases of equivocal diagnosis.

The authors of recent report (F Fernandez-Banares et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2017; 15: 594-96) challenged this wisdom, noting that there is expected to geographical variation in the presence of these alleles. The goal of their study was to assess the prevalence of HLA-DQ2.5/8 among CD patients in Spain by reviewing previous studies; 12 studies were included. To be included, patients had to have villous atrophy, positive serology and available genotyping.

Key finding:

  • Among 2963 Spanish CD patients, 3% “might be negative for HLA-DQ2.5/8.”

This is a brief report.  It is expected that limitations would relate to the accuracy of genotyping and of excluding other causes of villous atrophy.

My take: (from the authors) “This information highlights the need to be cautious when ruling out CD only on the basis of genetics.”

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Briefly noted:

L Kivela et al. J Pediatr 2017; 183: 115-21.  This study divided children with CD into those identified via screening (n=145) and those identified due to clinical symptoms (n=359). Key findings:

  • There were no differences in serology or histology between the two groups
  • More than half (51.8%) of screen-detected patients had symptoms at diagnosis, but typically these were milder than in the clinically-detected group.
  • Anemia was more common in the ‘clinical group’ 22.9% vs 7.1% (screen group) as was poor growth (36.9% vs. 15.7%).

AJ Irvine et al. Am J Gastroenterol 2017; 112: 65-76. (Thanks to Ben Gold for this reference) In this systemic review with 15,256 individuals (& 9,275 with irritable bowel), “prevalence of positive celiac serology and biopsy-proven CD was significantly higher in subjects with symptoms suggestive of IBS vs. healthy controls.”  The odds ratio for serology-positive and/or biopsy-proven CD ranged from 2.75 to 4.48, though there was no significant increase in these ORs for North American studies.

Palace of Versailles