The Evolving Effectiveness of Biologics in Avoiding Surgery in Children With Ulcerative Colitis: At what Nutritional Cost?

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The American surgeon


BACKGROUND: Pediatric ulcerative colitis (UC) treatment has changed dramatically with the introduction of multiple biologics. The goal of this study was to determine the effectiveness of these new biologics on achieving remission, nutritional impact, and eventual need for surgery in children.

METHODS: We retrospectively analyzed hospital records of UC patients (ages 1-19) seen at a pediatric gastroenterology clinic between January 2012 andAugust 2020. Patients were divided into groups: 1) medically without biologics or surgery; 2) patients treated with one biologic; and 3) patients treated with multiple biologics 4)patients that underwent colectomy.

RESULTS: There were 115 UC patients with a mean follow-up of 5.9 ± 3.7 years (1 month-15.3 years). PUCAI score at diagnosis was mild in 52 patients (45%), moderate in 25 (21%), and severe in 5 (4.3%). PUCAI score for 33 patients (29%) could not be calculated. There were 48 (41.3%) in group 1 with 58% remission, 34 (29.6%) in group 2 with 71% remission, 24 (20.8%) in group 3 with 29% remission, and only 9 (7.8%) in group 4 with 100% remission. The majority (55%) of surgical patients had colectomy within the first year of diagnosis. BMI improved after surgery (

DISCUSSION: New biologics are changing the landscape in maintaining remission from UC. The current need for surgery is much lower than previously published studies. In medically refractive UC, nutritional status only improved after surgery. Addition of another biologic for medically refractory ulcerative colitis in order to avoid surgery must take into account the positive impact surgery has on nutrition and disease remission.


Online ahead of print.

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