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Digestion. 2014;89(1):88-103. doi: 10.1159/000356706. Epub 2014 Jan 20.

A questionnaire-based survey on the diagnosis and management of inflammatory bowel disease in East Asian countries in 2012.

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  • 1Digestive Disease Center, CHA University School of Medicine and CHA University Bundang Medical Center, Seongnam, South Korea.



The prevalence and incidence of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are lower in East Asia than in Western countries; however, marked increases have recently been reported. The clinical diagnosis and medical management of IBD in East Asia differ from those in Western countries. A questionnaire-based survey was performed to gather physicians' current opinions on IBD in different East Asian countries.


Representative International Gastrointestinal Consensus Symposium (IGICS) committee members provided a questionnaire to physicians in each East Asian country studied. The questionnaire mainly focused on the diagnosis and management of IBD.


There were 19 respondents from Japan, 10 from South Korea, 9 from the Philippines, 6 from China and 4 from Indonesia. Colonoscopy (100%) and histopathology (63%) were commonly used for the diagnosis in ulcerative colitis (UC). Conventional small bowel enteroclysis was still the most common diagnostic tool for assessing small bowel lesions in Crohn's disease (CD) in East Asia. The percentage of physicians who investigated the reactivation of Cytomegalovirus in severe or refractory patients with UC ranged from 0% in the Philippines and Indonesia to 100% in Japan and Korea. Most physicians in Korea, the Philippines, China and Indonesia chose thiopurines or anti-TNF therapy as the second-line treatment in severe refractory UC, whereas Japanese physicians preferred to use tacrolimus or leukocyte apheresis. Physicians in the Philippines and Indonesia preferred to use oral 5-aminosalicylic acid for newly diagnosed severe ileocecal CD. In contrast, Korean physicians chose oral steroids and most physicians in China and Japan preferred to use anti-TNF. Nutritional therapy to induce or maintain remission in patients with CD was commonly used in Indonesia, Japan and China. Targeted biopsies by conventional colonoscopy were the most preferred strategy for cancer surveillance in long-standing UC over random biopsies in this region.


The present survey found that current diagnostic approaches and clinical management of IBD vary within East Asian countries.

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