There has been a worldwide increase in the reported incidence of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in children over the past 2-3 decades. The hepatobiliary (HB) manifestations of IBD have been well-studied in children in industrialized and developed countries but are infrequently reported in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) such as Egypt.
To determine the prevalence of the HB manifestations in a cohort of Egyptian children with IBD.
This cross-sectional observational study was carried out over a period of 6 mo (between June 2013 to December 2013) at the Paediatric Hepatology and Gastroenterology Units of Cairo University Children’s Hospital, which is the largest paediatric tertiary care centre in the country.
The study included 48 patients with confirmed IBD based upon clinical, laboratory, endoscopic and histopathological features, 29 (60.4%) were male. Twenty-four patients (50%) had ulcerative colitis (UC), 11 (22.9%) had Crohn’s disease (CD) and 13 (27.1%) had unclassified-IBD (IBD-U), which was formerly known as indeterminate colitis. The mean age of the patients at the time of presentation was 8.14 (± SD 4.02) years and the mean age at the time of study enrolment was 10.16 (± SD 4.19) years. All patients were screened for HB manifestations by physical examination, liver function tests, imaging and liver biopsy when indicated. HB disorders were confirmed in 13 patients (27.1%). Transaminases were elevated in 3 patients (6.3%). Two patients (4.2%) had elevated biliary enzymes (one was diagnosed as primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) and the other was diagnosed with PSC/autoimmune hepatitis overlap syndrome and the third patient had hepatitis C virus infection. Ten patients (20.8%) had bright echogenic liver on ultrasound suggesting fatty infiltration as a sequel of malnutrition or medication toxicity.
The commonest HB disorders in Egyptian children with IBD were abnormal liver function tests, fatty infiltration and PSC. These HB manifestations in paediatric patients in LMIC may be relatively more common than in industrialized countries. Therefore, IBD patients in LMIC should be meticulously screened for liver disease to allow prompt diagnosis and management.
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