The guts of it

December 2009

FocusThe guts of it

Update in inflammatory bowel disease

Volume 38, No.12, December 2009 Pages 956-961

Graham Morrison

Belinda Headon

Peter R Gibson


Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a common disease in Australia and frequently encountered in primary care. Major developments in investigation and management have taken place.


This article aims to review some recent breakthroughs in IBD investigation and management.


Diagnosis involves a changing combination of enhanced traditional techniques with new diagnostic tools, typically blood and stool testing with improved endoscopy and new radiological tests. Management has seen the introduction of new powerful biologic therapies, greater understanding in the way we use older therapies, and a focus on preventing complications such as malignancy or infection. Treatment philosophy now attempts to alter the natural history of the disease and prevent long term complications. The importance of associated, previously overlooked factors is being increasingly recognised. Only by taking a long term, patient centred multidisciplinary approach will an optimal outlook for the majority of patients with IBD be achieved.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) refers to a group of conditions characterised by inflammation in the intestinal tract. Crohn disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC) account for the majority of these conditions. The aim of this article is to review recent breakthroughs in IBD investigation and management. Several other comprehensive reviews and position statements are also available.1–4

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