Paediatrics Publications


Diagnostic Delay Is Associated with Complicated Disease and Growth Impairment in Paediatric Crohn's Disease

Document Type


Publication Date



Journal of Crohn's and Colitis





First Page


Last Page


URL with Digital Object Identifier



Background: Paediatric data on the association between diagnostic delay and inflammatory bowel disease [IBD] complications are lacking. We aimed to determine the effect of diagnostic delay on stricturing/fistulising complications, surgery, and growth impairment in a large paediatric cohort, and to identify predictors of diagnostic delay. Methods: We conducted a national, prospective, multicentre IBD inception cohort study including 1399 children. Diagnostic delay was defined as time from symptom onset to diagnosis >75th percentile. Multivariable proportional hazards [PH] regression was used to examine the association between diagnostic delay and stricturing/fistulising complications and surgery, and multivariable linear regression to examine the association between diagnostic delay and growth. Predictors of diagnostic delay were identified using Cox PH regression. Results: Overall (64% Crohn's disease [CD]; 36% ulcerative colitis/IBD unclassified [UC/IBD-U]; 57% male]), median time to diagnosis was 4.2 (interquartile range [IQR] 2.0-9.2) months. For the overall cohort, diagnostic delay was >9.2 months; in CD, >10.8 months and in UC/IBD-U, >6.6 months. In CD, diagnostic delay was associated with a 2.5-fold higher rate of strictures/internal fistulae (hazard ratio [HR] 2.53, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.41-4.56). Every additional month of diagnostic delay was associated with a decrease in height-for-age z-score of 0.013 standard deviations [95% CI 0.005-0.021]. Associations persisted after adjusting for disease location and therapy. No independent association was observed between diagnostic delay and surgery in CD or UC/IBD-U. Diagnostic delay was more common in CD, particularly small bowel CD. Abdominal pain, including isolated abdominal pain in CD, was associated with diagnostic delay. Conclusions: Diagnostic delay represents a risk factor for stricturing/internal fistulising complications and growth impairment in paediatric CD.

This document is currently not available here.