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J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2009 May;48(5):647-50. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0b013e31818b0ac7.

Capsule endoscopy in the evaluation of patients with unexplained growth failure.

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Division of Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Schneider Children's Hospital, North Shore/LIJ Health System, 269-01 76th Ave, Rm 234, New Hyde Park, NY 11040, USA.



Poor weight gain and growth can be caused by many medical, nutritional, behavioral, and psychological factors. Crohn disease is one of the more common gastrointestinal etiologies associated with growth failure. The aim of this study is to determine the role of capsule endoscopy (CE) in the evaluation of older children and adolescents who were referred to a pediatric gastroenterology service for a chief complaint of unexplained growth failure.


We retrospectively reviewed the records of children with growth failure undergoing CE between August 2002 and November 2005. Height and weight (expressed as z scores) were recorded at least 6 months before study, at the time of the study, and at least 6 months post study. All of the patients had celiac disease and Crohn disease excluded using standard biochemical, radiologic, endoscopic, and histologic assessment.


Seven children (4 males and 3 females) were included in the study-mean age 11.7+/-3.6 years. Indications for CE were growth failure associated with abdominal pain (3 patients), diarrhea and apthous ulcers (2 patients), delayed puberty (1 patient), or a family history of Crohn disease (1 patient). The mean z score for weight at the time of the study was 2.10+/-1.0 and for height was 1.50+/-0.7 All 7 children had normal small bowel series performed before the CE. All had both endoscopically and histologically normal esophagogastroduodenoscopy and colonoscopy. In 4 of 7 patients, multiple small bowel apthous ulcerations consistent with Crohn disease were identified by CE. All 4 patients who had abnormal CE were treated and started gaining weight. The mean z score for weight after 6 months of treatment was 1.35+/-1.2 and for height was 0.50+/-1.7. The mean z score for weight after treatment was significantly improved compared with the mean z score at diagnosis (P<0.05).


In our study, 4 of the 7 older children and adolescents with unexplained growth failure and normal small bowel series were found to have Crohn disease involving the small intestine. In addition, we were able to show the improvement on the mean z score for weight after treatment of small bowel Crohn disease was instituted.

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