Increased mortality in children with inflammatory bowel disease

October 19, 2018, Karolinska Institutet
Credit: Marek Skupinski 

Children who develop inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease) have an increased risk of death, both in childhood and later in life, a study from Karolinska Institutet published in the journal Gastroenterology reports. It is therefore important that patients who are diagnosed as children are carefully monitored, argue the researchers behind the study.

The researchers identified patients with (IBD) such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease between the years 1964 and 2014 via the Swedish patient register. Using these data, they compared in about 9,400 children who developed IBD with those of other children.

Their results show that children who developed IBD before the age of 18 have a three to five-fold higher mortality rate than people without IBD, both during childhood and into adulthood. This translates to a 2.2-year reduction in in individuals monitored up to the age of 65.

Small differences in number of deaths

"It should be remembered that we're talking small differences in number of deaths," explains lead author Ola Olén, consultant and researcher at Karolinska Institutet's Department of Medicine in Solna. "Most young people with IBD do not die earlier than their peers, but a few individuals with a severe case of IBD and serious complications such as cancer greatly elevate the relative risk."

The most common cause of death was cancer, while fatalities due to IBD itself accounted for the largest relative increase in mortality.

"Individuals who are diagnosed in childhood need to be monitored carefully," says Dr. Olén. "Those who might especially benefit from being closely monitored to avoid fatal intestinal cancer are children with , who also have the chronic liver disease ."

Associated with cancer

IBD in adults has previously been linked to shortened life expectancy. IBD is often thought to have a more aggressive disease course in children than in adults and has been associated with several types of . However, it has been unclear how life expectancy is affected by childhood-onset IBD and if the mortality rate has changed since the introduction of modern drugs.

"IBD therapy has improved greatly since the 1960s," says Dr. Olén. "For one thing, we often now use new types of immunomodulating drugs. However, we couldn't see that mortality rates have gone down since their introduction."

Explore further: Inflammatory bowel disease in childhood associated with increased risk of cancer

More information: O. Olén et al. Increased Mortality of Patients with Childhood-onset Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, Compared With the General Population, Gastroenterology (2018). DOI: 10.1053/j.gastro.2018.10.028

Related Stories

Inflammatory bowel disease in childhood associated with increased risk of cancer

September 21, 2017
Children who develop inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease) run a higher risk of cancer, both in childhood and later in life, a study from Karolinska Institutet published in the BMJ reports.

Ulcerative colitis, not crohn's, deaths down from 1982

January 21, 2013
(HealthDay)—Over the past 30 years in Denmark, mortality from ulcerative colitis (UC) has decreased, but mortality from Crohn's disease (CD) has remained persistently higher than the general population, according to research ...

Asthma tied to later inflammatory bowel disease

August 25, 2017
(HealthDay)—Asthma is associated with subsequent development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), according to a study published in the September issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Older people with bowel disease receive older medicines

November 13, 2017
Inflammatory bowel disease is common amongst older people and there are big differences in the choice of treatment for different age groups. Patients over the age of 60 often receive cortisone drugs instead of more modern ...

Childhood exposure to secondhand smoke may increase risk of adult lung disease death

August 16, 2018
A new study suggests that long-term exposure to secondhand smoke during childhood increases the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) death in adulthood. The study also suggests secondhand smoke exposure as ...

Analysis challenges link between pain medications and inflammatory bowel disease

April 5, 2018
Contrary to generally accepted belief, a recent review and analysis of published studies did not reveal a consistent association between the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or acetaminophen and exacerbation ...

Recommended for you

Patchy distribution of joint inflammation resolved

November 16, 2018
Chronic inflammatory rheumatic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and spondylo-arthritis (SpA) are chronic, disabling diseases with a poor outcome for loco-motoric function if left untreated. RA and SpA each affect ...

Discovery suggests new route to fight infection, disease

November 14, 2018
New research reveals how a single protein interferes with the immune system when exposed to the bacterium that causes Legionnaires' disease, findings that could have broad implications for development of medicines to fight ...

Can't exercise? A hot bath may help improve inflammation, metabolism, study suggests

November 14, 2018
Hot water treatment may help improve inflammation and blood sugar (glucose) levels in people who are unable to exercise, according to a new study. The findings are published ahead of print in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

Inflammation can lead to circadian sleep disorders

October 31, 2018
Inflammation, which is the root cause of autoimmune disorders including arthritis, Type 1 diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn's disease, has unexpected effects on body clock function and can lead to sleep and shiftwork-type ...

Machine learning tool predicts the potential of peptides as immune activators

October 23, 2018
The immune system keeps T cells under control by regulating precisely when they can respond to a pathogen. For instance, helper T cells only turn "on" if other immune cells, such as antigen-presenting cells (APCs) present ...

A new mechanism in the control of inflammation

October 18, 2018
After infection or tissue injury, the inflammatory immune response attacks the infection and repairs the damaged tissue. However, sometimes excess inflammation can have the opposite effect, increasing injury in a process ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.