Growth failure in pediatric onset inflammatory bowel disease: mechanisms, epidemiology, and management
Impairment of growth is recognized as one of the most significant complications of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in pediatric patients. The reported incidence of growth failure at diagnosis is 15–40% in pediatric onset Crohn’s disease (CD) and 3–10% in ulcerative colitis (UC). Growth failure is associated with decreased appetite, abdominal symptoms, malabsorption due to mucosal inflammation, growth hormone (GH) resistance due to inflammation, and even genetic factors. Several population-based studies and cohort studies suggest that patients with pre-pubertal onset CD have a higher risk of growth failure at disease onset. Final adult height is still lower than that of healthy controls; however, its prevalence is generally lower than that at the disease onset. Several IBD treatments were reported to improve patients’ growth. In addition to enteral nutrition therapy, treatment with anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) agents was reported to have favorable effects on growth of patients with pre-pubertal onset CD. Avoiding corticosteroids (CS) and achieving deep remission seems to be important to maintain optimal growth in patients with pediatric onset IBD.