Public Release:  Study finds dramatic increase in hospitalization of US children with inflammatory bowel disease

Researchers from UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital report reasons behind the increase are unclear

University Hospitals Case Medical Center

The largest investigation to date has found a dramatic increase in the number of hospitalizations for children with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) during the past decade in the United States.

The new study, published online and scheduled for the August 2013 print issue of the Journal of Investigative Medicine, found a 65 percent increase in IBD hospital discharges from 2000 to 2009. The number increased from 11,928 discharges in 2000 to 19,568 discharges in 2009.

IBD refers to a group of inflammatory conditions of the colon and small intestine. The major types of IBD are Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC). When looking at these two types of IBD individually, the authors found a 59 percent increase in CD discharges and a 71 percent increase UC discharges.

The study looked at more than 11 million hospitalization records of patients 20 years old and younger using a federal children's inpatient database. For the decade, they identified more than 61,000 pediatric discharges with an IBD diagnosis.

According to the study's principal investigator, Thomas J. Sferra, MD, Division Chief of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition at UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, this increasing trend was present in each age category and across all geographic regions (Northeast, Midwest, South and West).

"The reason for this large increase in hospitalizations of children with IBD is not clear," said Dr. Sferra. "We also found an increase in IBD-related complications and co-existing conditions which suggest an increase in the severity of this disease has contributed to a greater need for hospitalization. However, we will need to perform more research to determine whether patients were admitted to the hospital due to IBD or for an unrelated medical condition. Also, while we're seeing more kids being discharged with IBD, we cannot with certainty say that the incidence and prevalence of childhood IBD has increased in U.S."

The trend found by this nationwide study reflects what appears to be a phenomenon that has been reported for specific regions within the US and for other countries -- Canada, Scotland, and Finland.

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Other authors of this study are with the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and Cleveland Clinic.

No support or grant was received for this study.

The complete study can be found online: http://journals.lww.com/jinvestigativemed/Abstract/publishahead/Trends_in_Hospitalizations_of_Children_With.99687.aspx

About University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital

Located on the campus of University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio, University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital is a 244-bed, full-service children's hospital and academic medical center dedicated to the healthcare needs of children. A trusted leader in children's healthcare for more than 125 years, UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital consistently ranks among the top children's hospitals in the nation. As the region's premier resource for pediatric referrals, UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital's dedicated team of more than 1,300 pediatric specialists uses the most advanced treatments and latest innovations to deliver the complete range of pediatric specialty services for more than 700,000 patient encounters each year. Learn more at RainbowBabies.org.

Among the nation's leading academic medical centers, UH Case Medical Center is the primary affiliate of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, a nationally recognized leader in medical research and education.

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