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J Crohns Colitis. 2012 May;6(4):412-8. doi: 10.1016/j.crohns.2011.09.008. Epub 2011 Oct 14.

Monitoring inflammatory bowel disease activity: clinical activity is judged to be more relevant than endoscopic severity or biomarkers.

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University Hospital Lausanne/CHUV, Lausanne, Switzerland.



There is increasing evidence for the clinical relevance of mucosal healing (MH) as therapeutic treatment goal in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). We aimed to investigate by which method gastroenterologists monitor IBD activity in daily practice.


A questionnaire was sent to all board-certified gastroenterologists in Switzerland to specifically address their strategy to monitor IBD between May 2009 and April 2010.


The response rate was 57% (153/270). Fifty-two percent of gastroenterologists worked in private practice and 48% worked in hospitals. Seventy-eight percent judged clinical activity to be the most relevant criterion for monitoring IBD activity, 15% chose endoscopic severity, and 7% chose biomarkers. Seventy percent of gastroenterologists based their therapeutic decisions on clinical activity, 24% on endoscopic severity, and 6% on biomarkers. The following biomarkers were used for IBD activity monitoring: CRP, 94%; differential blood count, 78%; fecal calprotectin (FC), 74%; iron status, 63%; blood sedimentation rate, 3%; protein electrophoresis, 0.7%; fecal neutrophils, 0.7%; and vitamin B12, 0.7%. Gastroenterologists in hospitals and those with ≤ 10 years of professional experience used FC more frequently compared with colleagues in private practice (P=0.035) and those with > 10 years of experience (P<0.001).


Clinical activity is judged to be more relevant for monitoring IBD activity and guiding therapeutic decisions than endoscopic severity and biomarkers. As such, the accumulating scientific evidence on the clinical impact of mucosal healing does not yet seem to influence the management of IBD in daily gastroenterologic practice.

Copyright © 2011 European Crohn's and Colitis Organisation. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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