Objectives: Focally enhanced gastritis (FEG) has been suggested as a specific diagnostic marker for patients with Crohn's disease. However, the utility of FEG for distinguishing Crohn's disease from ulcerative colitis is uncertain in adults, and the occurrence of this lesion in children has not been defined. The aim of this study was to evaluate the occurrence of FEG and other gastric histological abnormalities in children with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and to examine the utility of FEG in discriminating between ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.
Methods: This is a retrospective, case-controlled study of upper GI histopathological findings in children with IBD. Gastric histopathology was defined and graded according to the Updated Sydney System.
Results: FEG was present in 28 of 43 (65.1%) children with Crohn's disease and five of 24 (20.8%) children with ulcerative colitis, compared to three of 132 (2.3%) children without IBD or one of 39 (2.6%) children with Helicobacter pylori infection. There were no differences between those with and without FEG with regard to upper GI symptoms or previous anti-inflammatory drug ingestion (5-aminosalicylic acid compounds or steroids). All patients with H. pylori infection had chronic antral gastritis, but only one child with H. pylori had FEG. In addition, mild to moderate chronic gastritis was present in 15 of 43 (34.9%) children with Crohn's disease and in 12 of 24 (50%) patients with ulcerative colitis.
Conclusions: The presence of FEG suggests underlying IBD. Although FEG is particularly common in children with Crohn's disease, it does not reliably differentiate between Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.