Digestive Health

Updated 29 May 2015

Black kids fare worse with Crohn's disease

Black kids are more likely to be readmitted to hospital than white kids with Crohn's disease, a new study suggests.


Race may play a role in outcomes for children and teens with Crohn's disease, with black patients faring worse than whites, a new study suggests.

Digestive system disease

"We found racial inequalities exist among children and adolescents with Crohn's disease, likely due to a combination of genetic and environmental differences," Dr. Jennifer Dotson, a gastroenterologist at Nationwide Children's Hospital and principal investigator in the Centre for Innovation and Paediatric Practice, said in a hospital news release.

Researchers analysed data from more than 4,000 white and black patients with moderate to severe Crohn's disease. They were all aged 21 or younger. All had been hospitalised due to the digestive system disease between 2004 and 2012.

Read: Aspiring model brings awareness to Crohn’s disease

Black patients were 1.5 times more likely to be readmitted to the hospital and required readmission sooner than white patients, according to the study published recently in the IBD Journal.

Black patients were also more likely to have anaemia and vitamin D deficiency, according to the researchers. And they were more likely to undergo endoscopic procedures, blood product transfusions and treatment with steroids and biologic agents. However, race did not affect the risk of bowel surgery, which is common in youngsters with Crohn's disease.

Disparities in care

"A physician or other clinical staff may not readily identify these racial differences at a single-practice level, but these gaps may be important on a larger scale," Dotson said.

Some of the differences, such as increased procedures for blacks, likely stem from differences in the way the disease affects blacks and whites, she explained. But, she also noted, "Other differences may reflect disparities in care, although biologic differences can't be excluded."

Read: Living with Crohn's Disease

"Black children were slightly older at the first admission than white children, which could represent a subtle marker of diminished access to medical care or a delay in disease recognition," Dotson said.

She said more studies need to be done to better pinpoint the causes of these racial differences. Once the causes are known, "we can design interventions for hospitals and physician offices that can reduce population-level disparities," she concluded.

Read more:

New clues to Crohn's disease, colitis

Karen Botha has Crohn's disease

Vit D could fight Crohn's disease

Image: Intestine with Crohn's disease from Shutterstock

Copyright © 2016 HealthDay. All rights reserved.


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Ask the Expert

Digestive Health Expert

Dr. Estelle Wilken is a Senior Specialist in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology at Tygerberg Hospital. She obtained her MBChB in 1976, her MMed (Int) in 1991 and her gastroenterology registration in 1995.

Still have a question?

Get free advice from our panel of experts

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

* You must accept our condition

Forum Rules