Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) describes either of two related but clinically and histologically distinct diseases. Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disorder characterized by transmural granulomatous inflammation involving any part of the gastrointestinal tract, from mouth to anus, in a discontinuous fashion. Ulcerative colitis does not exhibit well-defined granulomatous lesions. It is characterized by crypt abscesses and ulcerations extending down to the muscularis and surrounded by prominent mucosal infiltrate of inflammatory cells.
The prevalence of Crohn's disease in the United States has been estimated at 24 to 40 cases per 100,000 population, and the incidence appears to be increasing, particularly in Western Europe and North America. The underlying cause of the disease is unknown. Predisposing genetic factors appear to interact with possible exogenous triggers that may result in a spontaneously relapsing and remitting inflammatory process in which tissue injury is perpetuated by an autoimmune response.
The standard therapy for IBD includes aminosalicylates, such as Asacol and Pentasa, immunomodulatory agents like 6-mercaptopurine and Azathioprine and corticosteroids. It is important to note that these therapies are limited in their effectiveness and can have a wide variety of unwanted side effects.
When patients with inflammatory bowel disease develop complications or are not responding to medications, surgical treatment is considered to relieve symptoms and achieve conditions that will improve the patient’s health and growth. If you’d like a consultation about proceeding with surgical intervention for a patient with IBD, gastroenterologists and pediatric surgeons from CHOP are available to help.
The Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia has an active research program that studies the entire IBD disease continuum.
The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America, Inc. (CCFA) hosts a Physician's Resource Room on its Web site at www.ccfa.org.
Contact information for the foundation is:
The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America, Inc.
386 Park Avenue South, 17th floor
New York, NY 10016-8804
Telephone: 212-685-3440 or 1-800-932-2423
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Contact the Center for Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease.