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Mucosal Healing Predicts Course of Bowel Disease

Useful as a clinical indicator and treatment goal

MONDAY, Aug. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Mucosal healing is useful as a clinical indicator and treatment goal in patients with inflammatory bowel disease, according to a report in the August issue of Gastroenterology. Mucosal healing was associated with a low risk of future colectomy, less inflammation after five years, and lower future steroid treatment.

Morten H. Vatn, M.D., from the University of Oslo in Norway, and colleagues examined factors affecting mucosal healing in 740 patients with ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease from 1990-1994, before biologic therapy was available.

The researchers found that more than 12 years of education and extensive disease at diagnosis significantly predicted mucosal healing after one year in patients with ulcerative colitis, while fever at diagnosis and medical treatment without steroids significantly predicted mucosal healing in patients with Crohn's disease.

"Education as predictor may implicate the importance of coping, compliance, or lifestyle," Vatn and colleagues write. "Mucosal healing after one year of treatment is predictive of reduced subsequent disease activity and decreased need for active treatment."

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