Barriers to and requirements for a successful transition in inflammatory bowel disease from pediatric to adult care in Greece

Authors Olga Giouleme, Anastasios Koutsoumourakis, Anastasia Katsoula, Marios Katsaros, Konstantinos Soufleris, Konstantinos Soufleris, Konstantina Vasilaki, Ioannis Xinias.


Background The incidence of pediatric-onset inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is rising, while the relapsing and often severe nature of IBD, and its impact on emotional and pubertal development and social maturation underline the need for a successful transition from pediatric to adult care.

Methods A web-based survey was distributed via the Hellenic Group for the Study of IBD, the Hellenic Society of Gastroenterology Department of North Greece, and the Hellenic Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition.

Results The questionnaire was answered by 98 individuals (78 adult and 20 pediatric gastroenterologists, out of 357 and 30, respectively). The response rate was 25.3%. A higher response rate was found among pediatric (66.6%) vs. adult gastroenterologists 21.8% (P<0.001). Pediatric gastroenterologists believed that the appropriate age for transition was either 16-17 or 17-18 years, whereas 59% of the adult gastroenterologists chose the age group of 16-17 years. Both adult and pediatric gastroenterologists stated that the most significant initiators for a successful transition process were cognitive maturity and patients’ ability to manage their disease independently. The lack of communication and collaboration between pediatric and adult gastroenterologists was the main barrier to the transition process, as identified by adult gastroenterologists (27.7%). In contrast, 43.5% of pediatric gastroenterologists suggested that differences in the follow up of patients with IBD between pediatric and adult clinics were the main restrictions.

Conclusion These results highlight the need for a transitional education program for pediatric IBD patients, and the importance of improving collaboration among adult and pediatric gastroenterologists.

Keywords Transition, inflammatory bowel disease, pediatric

Ann Gastroenterol 2023; 36 (5): 541-548

Original Articles