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Chu HP, Logarajah V, Tan N, Phua KB
Correspondence: Dr Chu Hui Ping, firstname.lastname@example.org
Introduction This study examined the characteristics and trends in the incidence of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) among children in Singapore.
Methods We retrospectively reviewed all patients under 18 years diagnosed with IBD over a 14-year period. Information on demographics, disease presentation, laboratory findings, radiological investigations, and endoscopic and histological findings were obtained from the patients’ medical records.
Results 32 patients were diagnosed with IBD, 30 of whom had Crohn’s disease and 2 had ulcerative colitis. The incidence of IBD rose from an initial rate of 2.2 per 100,000 patients in the year 2000 to a peak of 11.4 patients per 100,000 patients by 2008. Median age of onset of symptoms was 10.5 years. There were more boys (63%) than girls in the group and a higher representation of Indians (34.4%). The most common presenting symptoms were abdominal pain (87.5%), diarrhoea (75.0%) and weight loss (71.9%). Extraintestinal manifestations such as fever and arthralgia were found in over 50% of patients. The most common physical findings were perianal abnormalities (56.3%), mouth ulcers (37.5%) and growth failure (15.6%). Abnormal laboratory findings such as low albumin, raised erythrocyte sedimentation rate, anaemia, thrombocytosis and high C-reactive protein were found in nearly half of the patients. Endoscopic and histological findings showed that a majority of patients (90.6%) also had evidence of inflammation in the upper gastrointestinal tract.
Conclusion Paediatric IBD is on the rise. The higher occurrence in Indians, earlier onset and more florid presentation may suggest different genetic and environmental influences specific to Asian children.
Keywords: Asian races, Crohn’s disease, paediatric IBD, ulcerative colitis
Singapore Med J 2013; 54: 201-205; http://dx.doi.org/10.11622/smedj.2013073
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