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Anal skin tags in inflammatory bowel disease: new observations and a clinical review

Bonheur, Jennifer L; Braunstein, Jared; Korelitz, Burton I; Panagopoulos, Georgia
BACKGROUND: The association between intestinal Crohn's disease (CD) and specific perianal abnormalities called anal skin tags (AST) has been recognized but not well defined. Skin tags have been classified into 2 types: 1) raised, broad, or narrow, single or multiple, soft or firm, and painless, often referred to as 'elephant ears'; or 2) edematous, hard, often cyanotic, tender or not, and typically arising from a healed anal fissure, ulcer, or hemorrhoid. The aims of this study were to i) better characterize those skin tags identified by the term 'elephant ears' and differentiate them from other types of AST; ii) compare their prevalence in patients with CD and ulcerative colitis (UC); iii) observe the relationship of the skin tags to the location of the primary bowel disease; and iv) to discuss the value of these typical AST in making an early diagnosis of CD. METHODS: Photographs of all AST were taken when present at lower endoscopy in 170 consecutive patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) seen in the private office of the senior investigator and Lenox Hill Hospital. Data was gathered with respect to major differences between the 2 types of AST. The location of the primary bowel disease for these patients was obtained from an extensive IBD computer database and review of details from charts. RESULTS: Specific features of AST were described and served to favor type 1 versus type 2. AST were found more frequently in patients with CD (75.4%) as compared to patients with UC (24.6%), confirming previous observations that they are more diagnostic of CD (P = 0.005). Subset analysis revealed a trend with a greater incidence of AST in patients with colitis (46.9%) as compared to patients with ileitis (36.7%) and ileocolitis (16.3%) (P = 0.067). CONCLUSIONS: We provide photographs with the most characteristic features of AST and attempt to separate elephant ears (type 1) from less typical AST (type 2) in CD. Our study confirms previous reports that AST are more commonly found in association with CD as compared with UC and more so in the presence of disease limited to the colon as compared to disease elsewhere in the bowel. Our observations support the diagnostic significance of AST heralding the diagnosis of CD when they are discovered on physical exam, especially in young people with diarrhea, abdominal pain, and/or growth retardation
PMID: 18452201
ISSN: 1536-4844
CID: 93302

Choice of laxatives and colonoscopic preparation in pregnant patients from the viewpoint of obstetricians and gastroenterologists

Vinod, Jeevan; Bonheur, Jennifer; Korelitz, Burton I; Panagopoulos, Georgia
AIM: To elucidate the preferences of gastroenterologists at our institution and compare them to those of obstetricians when making decisions in the pregnant patient, including which type of bowel preparations to use for flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy, as well as which laxatives can be used safely. METHODS: Surveys were mailed to all attending gastroenterologists (n = 53) and obstetricians (n = 99) at our institution. Each survey consisted of the 14 most common laxative or motility agents used in pregnancy and inquired about the physician's prescribing habits in the past as well as their willingness to prescribe each medication in the future. The survey also listed four common bowel preparations used prior to colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy and asked the physician to rank the order of the preferred agent in each case. RESULTS: With regard to common laxatives, both gastroenterologists and obstetricians favor the use of Metamucil, Colace, and Citrucel. Both groups appear to refrain from using Fleets Phosphosoda and Castor oil. Of note, obstetricians are less inclined to use PEG solution and Miralax, which is not the case with gastroenterologists. In terms of comparing bowel preparations for colonoscopy, 50% of gastroenterologists prefer to use PEG solution and 50% avoid the use of Fleets Phosphosoda. Obstetricians seem to prefer Fleets Phosphosoda (20%) and tend to avoid the use of PEG solution (26%). With regard to bowel preparation for sigmoidoscopy, both groups prefer Fleets enema the most (51%), while magnesium citrate is used least often (38%). CONCLUSION: It is clear that preferences in the use of bowel cleansing preparations between the two groups exist, but there have not been many case controlled human studies in the pregnant patient that give clear cut indications for using one versus another drug. In light of the challenge of performing controlled trials in pregnant women, more extensive surveys should be undertaken to gather a larger amount of data on physician's experiences and individual preferences
PMID: 18161925
ISSN: 1007-9327
CID: 84016

Perianal skin tags in inflammatory bowel disease [Meeting Abstract]

Bonheur, JL; Korelitz, BI; Braunstein, J; Panagopoulos, G
ISSN: 0002-9270
CID: 69314