Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic, relapsing condition affecting the GI tract that can affect individuals of any age and results in lifelong treatment, frequently including the need for surgery. Historically, the lack of a single effective and sensitive test for IBD has posed a great challenge in assessing disease severity, effectiveness of medication and predicting outcomes for this complex condition. Several IBD scoring and classification systems have been developed over many years to classify and characterize IBD patients, with the goal of helping to better define the disease status and effectiveness of therapy. Recent genetic investigations have revealed the complexity of IBD at the pathophysiologic level, revealing numerous genetic mutations associated with the disease. Thus, these clinically based IBD classification systems can provide the basis for the eventual correlation between the underlying genotype with clinical expression of disease and lead to better characterization of disease subtypes and, hopefully, customized treatment regimens.
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