North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition Position Paper on the Evaluation and Management for Patients With Very Early-onset Inflammatory Bowel Disease

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2020 Mar;70(3):389-403. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0000000000002567.


The rate of pediatric inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has been increasing over the last decade and this increase has occurred most rapidly in the youngest children diagnosed <6 years, known as very early-onset inflammatory bowel disease (VEO-IBD). These children can present with more extensive and severe disease than older children and adults. The contribution of host genetics in this population is underscored by the young age of onset and the distinct, aggressive phenotype. In fact, monogenic defects, often involving primary immunodeficiency genes, have been identified in children with VEO-IBD and have led to targeted and life-saving therapy. This position paper will discuss the phenotype of VEO-IBD and outline the approach and evaluation for these children and what factors should trigger concern for an underlying immunodeficiency. We will then review the immunological assays and genetic studies that can facilitate the identification of the underlying diagnosis in patients with VEO-IBD and how this evaluation may lead to directed therapies. The position paper will also aid the pediatric gastroenterologist in recognizing when a patient should be referred to a center specializing in the care of these patients. These guidelines are intended for pediatricians, allied health professionals caring for children, pediatric gastroenterologists, pediatric pathologists, and immunologists.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Colitis*
  • Gastroenterology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / genetics
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases* / therapy
  • Nutritional Status
  • Phenotype
  • United States