Pediatric ulcerative colitis (UC) care is variable with a lack of appropriate guidelines to guide practice until recently.
UC inpatients <17 years old admitted to 23 U.K. pediatric hospitals had clinical details collected between September 2010 and 2011. Comparative data for 248 patients were available from a previous audit in 2008.
One hundred and seventy-six patients (98 males) of median age 13 years (interquartile range, 10–13) were analyzed; 23 were elective surgical admissions, 47 new diagnoses, and 106 needed acute medical care for established UC. Median length of stay was 6 days (interquartile range, 3–10) with no deaths. Eighty-eight of 126 patients (70%) with active disease had standard stool cultures performed (3 [2%] were positive), and 57 (45%) had Clostridium difficile toxin tested (none positive). Twenty-five of 66 (38%) emergency admissions had an abdominal x-ray on admission, and 13 of 66 patients (20%) had a Pediatric Ulcerative Colitis Activity Index score. There were 3 cases of toxic megacolon and 2 thromboses. Eighty-one of 116 patients (71%) responded to steroids. Nineteen patients who did not respond adequately to steroids received rescue therapy (7 infliximab, 11 ciclosporin, and 1 both) with overall response rate of 90%; 7 patients needed surgery acutely, 5 without previous rescue therapy. Compared with the 2008 data, stool culture rates improved significantly (86 of 121 [71%] versus 76 of 147 [52%], P = 0.001) as did heparinization rates (15 of 150 [10%] versus 5 of 215 [2%], P = 0.002) and rescue therapy usage (17 of 33 [52%] versus 10 of 38 [26%], P = 0.03).
There were signs of improving UC care with significantly increased rates of stool culture and rescue therapy. The majority of sites, however, did not use Pediatric Ulcerative Colitis Activity Index scores.