Objectives: Endoscopy is commonly performed in the diagnosis of children with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The utility of repeat endoscopy for the management of pediatric IBD has not been subject to investigation. The frequency and determinants of changes in medical management resulting from endoscopy are unknown.
Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional cohort study to assess the frequency and determinants of management change in all children (0-21 years) who underwent endoscopy for the surveillance or evaluation of established IBD between July 2002 and July 2006 at 2 referral centers in the United States. Patients were sampled from the Pediatric Endoscopy Database System Clinical Outcomes Research Initiative and a chart review was performed to identify demographic features (age, gender), blood work (hemoglobin, albumin, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, C-reactive protein), and endoscopy results (endoscopic and histologic). An endoscopic score was used to assess mucosal injury. Subjects were divided into two groups for comparative analysis: (i) patients with management changes based on endoscopic or histologic findings, and (ii) patients without changes.
Results: We analyzed 285 endoscopic procedures (137 colonoscopies, 109 esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) with colonoscopy, 25 sigmoidoscopies, 8 EGDs, 6 EGDs with sigmoidoscopy) performed in 230 children (mean age 14.5) with established IBD, including 147 with Crohn's disease, 80 with ulcerative colitis, and 3 with indeterminant colitis. Management changes were documented in 119 (42%) procedures, including 58 (20%) immediately after endoscopy, 52 (18%) after histology review, and 9 (3%) after both. Management changes included new medications in 86 cases, discontinuation of a medication in 3 cases, hospital admission in 11, and surgical consult in 14. No significant differences between groups occurred with regard to age, gender, endoscopy type, or infliximab use. The presence of anemia, hypoalbuminemia, or elevated markers of inflammation (ESR, CRP) did not correlate with management outcome. Management changes after endoscopy were more frequent in patients with Crohn's disease as compared to patients with ulcerative colitis. Patients with mucosal injury were more likely to have a management change than those with mucosal healing (80% vs. 20%; P<0.001).
Conclusions: The overall rate of management change after endoscopic evaluation in children with IBD is approximately 42%. Addition of a new medication is the most common intervention. Blood work and patient symptoms before the procedure did not predict management outcome; however, mucosal healing may be an important end point. Our findings suggest that endoscopy is valuable for the evaluation of children with IBD.