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Health services utilization and specialist care in pediatric inflammatory bowel disease: a multiprovince population-based cohort study


Background — Patterns of health services utilization among children with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are important to understand as the number of children with IBD continues to increase. We compared health services utilization and surgery among children diagnosed <10 years of age (Paris classification: A1a) and between 10 and <16 years of age (A1b).

Methods — Incident cases of IBD diagnosed <16 years of age were identified using validated algorithms from deterministically linked health administrative data in 5 Canadian provinces (Alberta, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec) to conduct a retrospective cohort study. We compared the frequency of IBD-specific outpatient visits, emergency department visits, and hospitalizations across age groups (A1a vs A1b [reference]) using negative binomial regression. The risk of surgery was compared across age groups using Cox proportional hazards models. Models were adjusted for sex, rural/urban residence location, and mean neighborhood income quintile. Province-specific estimates were pooled using random-effects meta-analysis.

Results — Among the 1165 (65.7% Crohn’s) children with IBD included in our study, there were no age differences in the frequency of hospitalizations (rate ratio [RR], 0.88; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.74-1.06) or outpatient visits (RR, 0.95; 95% CI, 0.78-1.16). A1a children had fewer emergency department visits (RR, 0.70; 95% CI, 0.50-0.97) and were less likely to require a Crohn’s-related surgery (hazard ratio, 0.49; 95% CI, 0.26-0.92). The risk of colectomy was similar among children with ulcerative colitis in both age groups (hazard ratio, 0.71; 95% CI, 0.49-1.01).

Conclusions — Patterns of health services utilization are generally similar when comparing children diagnosed across age groups.



Kuenzig ME, Bitton A, Carroll MW, Otley AR, Singh H, Kaplan GG, Stukel TA, Mack DR, Jacobson K, Griffiths AM, El-Matary W, Targownik LE, Nguyen GC, Jones JL, Murthy SK, Bernstein CN, Lix LM, Peña-Sánchez JN, Dummer TJB, Spruin S, Fung SG, Nugent Z, Coward S, Cui Y, Coulombe J, Filliter C, Benchimol EI. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2024; Feb 16 [Epub ahead of print].

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