Upper gastrointestinal tract phenotype of Crohn's disease is associated with early surgery and further hospitalization

Dorothy K L Chow*, Joseph J Y Sung, Justin C Y Wu, Kelvin K F Tsoi, Rupert W L Leong, Francis K L Chan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)


Background: According to the Montreal Classification, upper gastrointestinal tract phenotype L4 is uncommon in Caucasian patients with Crohn's disease (CD) but-carries excess risk of recurrence. We studied the clinical course of CD in Chinese patients presenting with the L4 phenotype and factors predicting its occurrence upon longitudinal follow-up. Methods: This prospective cohort study included 132 Chinese CD patients (median age at diagnosis, 30.0 yoars, range: 14.0-77.0 years) who were followed for 770 person-yoars. Demographic data including disease behavior and location, details of surgery, and hospitalization were collected. The Kaplan-Meier method was used to estimate the probabilities of further hospitalization and major surgery followed by Cox proportional hazards regression to determine if clinical variables independently predicted the endpoints. Results: The L4 phenotype was found in 30 (22.7%) patients at presentation. There were significantly more stricturing (46.7% versus 18.6%) and penetrating (30.0% versus 3.9%) phenotypes in the L4 group than in the non-L4 group (P < 0.0001). The 3-year cumulative probability of further hospitalization was 86.9% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 73.8%-100.0%) in the L4 group as compared with 49.3% (95% CI: 39.3%-59.3%) in the non-L4 group (log-rank test, P < 0.0001). The L4 phenotype independently predicted further hospitalization (adjusted hazards ratio [HR]: 2.1; 95% CI: 1.3-3.5). The cumulative probability of major surgery was significantly higher in the L4 than in the non-L4 group (P < 0.0001). Eighteen (17.6%) patients developed the L4 phenotype on follow-up and the stricturing phenotype predicted its occurrence (adjusted HR: 5.5; 95% CI: 2.2-14.0). Conclusions: Chinese CD patients more often had the LA pheno-type, which predicted the need of subsequent hospitalization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)551-557
Number of pages7
JournalInflammatory Bowel Diseases
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Crohn's disease
  • Hospitalization
  • L4 phenotype


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