Inflammatory Bowel Disease - IBD

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) includes a spectrum of chronic disorders that affect the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, and is believed to develop as a result of immunologic, environmental, and genetic influences.   Crohn disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC) are the primary subtypes of IBD; a third subtype cannot be categorized as either CD or UC based on features at diagnosis and is referred to as IBD, unclassified (IBD-U) (sometimes referred to as “indeterminate colitis”).   IBD can vary in severity; a higher inflammatory burden and greater anatomic extent of disease characterize more severe IBD.  Early diagnosis is important for disease management,  but distinguishing between the IBD subtypes can present a diagnostic challenge, particularly because CD and UC can manifest as atypical phenotypes.  A combination of clinical tools, including laboratory tests, clinical examination and patient history, and endoscopic and radiologic findings, is used to establish diagnosis and to determine the extent and severity of disease.  Laboratory testing is also used for disease management, including therapeutic drug monitoring, which is of particular importance in IBD to optimize clinical outcomes.  Laboratory tests for IBD include serum and fecal inflammatory marker and stool culture tests to rule out enteric infections.   Due to their limited sensitivities, serologic tests may only be useful as adjunct diagnostic tools for IBD diagnosis and/or risk stratification.

Tabs Content
Content Review: 
August 2019

Last Update: January 2020