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Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2010 Jun;22(6):710-5. doi: 10.1097/MEG.0b013e32832e2bd8.

Inflammatory bowel disease in children: the role of a positive family history.

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First Department of Paediatrics, University of Athens, Aghia Sophia Children's Hospital, Thebon and Lebadias Street, Athens 11527, Greece.



The aim of this study was to evaluate any potential influence of a family history of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) on the clinical phenotypes and the course of IBD in children.


In this retrospective study, the notes of 411 children with the diagnosis of IBD, 244 (59.4%) with ulcerative colitis, 129 (31.4%) with Crohn's disease and 38 (9.2%) with IBD unclassified, who were admitted to our department between 1 January 1981 and 31 December 2007 were reviewed. The aim was to assess the prevalence of familial IBD and its impact on the age of disease onset, clinical phenotypes according to the Montreal classification, course and outcome of disease. The control group consisted of IBD children without a family history of IBD, who were admitted to the hospital during the same time period.


Thirty five (8.5%) children had a family history of IBD, (ulcerative colitis 6.6%, Crohn's disease 10.9% and IBD unclassified 13.2%). Sixty-eight percent of the 22 pairs of first-degree relatives were concordant for the clinical phenotype of disease. Significantly, more children with familial IBD had symptom onset and/or disease diagnosis before 5 years of age compared with sporadic IBD (P = 0.01 and P = 0.014, respectively); however, no differences were seen in sex, clinical phenotypes, need for aggressive treatment and/or surgery.


Children with familial IBD had earlier onset of disease compared with those with sporadic IBD. However, this had no significant impact on the clinical phenotypes, the course and/or the outcome of disease.

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