Objective: To determine the characteristics of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in young patients.
Study design: Uniform data were collected from a cohort of patients with IBD who were enrolled from January 2000 to November 2002 at six pediatric centers (Pediatric IBD Consortium).
Results: Of 1370 children in the registry, the mean age at IBD diagnosis was 10.3 +/- 4.4 years; 54% were male, and 86% were white. Diagnosis was confirmed in 87 (6.1%) under 3 years of age, 211 (15.4%) before 6 years, 654 (47.7%) at 6 to 12 years, and 505 (36.9%) at 13 to 17 years. More than 63% of children younger than 8 years of age had isolated colonic disease, whether Crohn disease, ulcerative colitis (UC), or indeterminate colitis. Conversely, only 35% of those 8 years of age or older had isolated colonic disease ( P < .0001). Overall, 29% had one or more family members with IBD. The subgroup of children younger than 3 years of age with UC had the highest prevalence of first-degree relatives with IBD (44%).
Conclusions: This demographically diverse pediatric IBD cohort revealed age-related variation in the distribution of IBD phenotype, with a high prevalence of isolated colonic disease in young children. Positive family history was especially common in young patients with UC.