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Characteristics of Inflammatory Bowel Disease With Onset During the First Year of Life

Ruemmele, Frank M*,†; El Khoury, Maurice G*; Talbotec, Cécile*; Maurage, Chantal*; Mougenot, Jean-François*; Schmitz, Jacques*,†; Goulet, Olivier*,†

Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition: November 2006 - Volume 43 - Issue 5 - p 603–609
doi: 10.1097/01.mpg.0000237938.12674.e3
Original Articles: Gastroenterology

Background: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is recognized in young children, however, only rare data on onset and evolution are available in children younger than 1 year. In the present clinical study, we aimed to analyze characteristics and clinical course of children with very early onset IBD. We were particularly interested in the relationship between bacterial infections and the use of antibiotics before the onset of IBD.

Patients and Methods: The IBD database of Necker-Enfants-Malades-Hospital was screened for patients with IBD with disease onset during the first year of life and a follow-up of at least 2.5 years. Ten patients were identified during the period 1996–2002.

Results: All patients presented with rectal bleeding and had colonic involvement. Four patients had definitive diagnosis of Crohn disease; ulcerative or indeterminate colitis was seen in 2 and 4 children, respectively. Five of the patients had a positive history of neonatal or early-onset bacterial infection with use of antibiotics before onset of IBD, 4 patients were still breastfed and 3 just weaned when GI symptoms started. Seven patients had a severe onset of disease requiring bowel rest, parenteral nutrition and steroid medication, followed by azathioprine or cyclosporine medication. Surgery was necessary in 3 of 10 patients. Disease relapses were frequent and observed in 8 of 10 children.

Discussion: Very early onset IBD may reflect a subgroup of patients characterized by a particular sensitivity to modifications of the intestinal flora. Neonatal IBD was most often severe in presentation and evolution.

*Paediatric Gastroenterology Unit, Department of Paediatrics, Hôpital Necker-Enfants Malades, Paris, National Center for Rare Digestive Diseases

INSERM EMI U793, University René Descartes, Paris, France

Received 6 September, 2005

Accepted 2 March, 2006

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr F.M. Ruemmele, Paediatric Gastroenterology Unit, Hôpital Necker-Enfants Malades, INSERM U793, 149 Rue de Sèvres, F-75743 Paris, France (e-mail:

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.