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Dig Dis Sci. 2009 May;54(5):1099-107. doi: 10.1007/s10620-008-0469-6. Epub 2008 Sep 4.

Crohn's disease in India: a multicenter study from a country where tuberculosis is endemic.

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  • 1Division of Gastroenterology, School of Digestive and Liver Diseases, Institute of Post-Graduate Medical Education & Research, Kolkata, India.


Although Crohn's disease is thought to be rare and intestinal tuberculosis common in India, Crohn's disease is being reported more often. However, there is a lack of systematic study on Crohn's disease from India. In this analysis of data from three inflammatory bowel disease clinics (two in northern India and one in eastern India), criteria for Crohn's disease were applied retrospectively: (1) World Health Organization (WHO) criteria; or (2) compatible histology (European Crohn's and Colitis Organization) or failure of response to 4-8 weeks of anti-tuberculosis therapy (Asia-Pacific guidelines); or (3) compatible macroscopic, radiologic, colonoscopic features (European Crohn's and Colitis Organization). Others were classified as probable Crohn's disease. The Montreal classification was used for disease phenotype. Age at onset and duration of symptoms (182 patients, 117 male) were 34.5 (+/-13.6; 7-73) years and 3.0 (+/-5.8; 0.1-36) years, respectively. Diarrhea (68%), abdominal pain (62%), and weight loss (57%) were common. The common intestinal complications were occult (27%) and overt (40%) gastrointestinal bleeding and obstruction (28%). There were 141 (78%) and 41 (22%) with definite and probable Crohn's disease respectively. Of 147 (81%) available histopathology specimens (endoscopic biopsy in 110; 75%), 31 (21%) had granuloma. Seventy-one out of 166 (43%) had received anti-tuberculosis therapy in the past. Results from the Montreal classification were as follows: age at onset, A1:A2:A3 6%:64%:30%; location of disease, L1:L2:L3:L4 32%:41%:23%:4%, and disease behavior, B1:B2:B3 51%:24%:25%. Twenty-six (15%) and 31 (17%) patients had upper gastrointestinal and perianal modifiers. The drugs used were: aminosalicylates (128, 70%), steroids (76, 42%), azathioprine (53, 29%), methotrexate (4, 2%), and salazopyrine (14, 8%). Sixty-six (36%) patients underwent surgical treatment. We concluded that the phenotype of Crohn's disease in India is very similar to that described in other regions of Asia and the West, except for a delay in diagnosis and a more complicated disease at diagnosis.

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