Growth failure (GF) is one of the major complications affecting children with inflammatory bowel disease. The faltering is temporary in 40–50% of cases and prolonged in 10–20% in Crohn’s disease (CD). Such failure is rare in children with ulcerative colitis (5%). This complication is often associated with retarded bone development and delayed onset of sexual maturation. The delayed linear growth has a variety of causes including insufficient intake due to anorexia and the inflammatory process with increased energy and protein expenditure. Other factors are increased intestinal loss, secondary hypopituitarism and treatment with steroids. Therapeutic strategies of CD in children have changed this last decade by introducing new therapeutic agents such as topic steroids, immunosuppressors, anti-TNF (antibody and notably in children enteral nutrition which has shown its efficacy in inducing remissions of active CD, restoring nutritional status and stimulation of linear growth. The results of a recent prospective multicentric study over 2 years in 82 CD show that severe GF (–2 SD) is initially present in 15% (n = 12), among them 11 remain < –2SD after 2 years of follow-up. Six patients who were on the normal range initially increased their GF during the follow-up (< –2SD) (total 21% < –2SD (n = 17) at 2 years). At inclusion in this group there was no difference in growth velocity, used of steroids, enteral nutrition or severity of CD as compared to the group with no GF. It suggests that new treatment strategy should be developed in the future for this specific complication of paediatric CD.

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