BACKGROUND: The Ulcerative Colitis Endoscopic Index of Severity (UCEIS) accounts for 86% of the variance between observers in the overall assessment of endoscopic severity, but has not been correlated with outcomes. METHODS: Consecutive cases of acute severe colitis (ASC) defined by Truelove and Witts (TW) criteria were retrospectively evaluated. Demographic details, number of TW criteria, prior medical therapy, UCEIS and inpatient medical therapy were recorded. Pre-specified (adverse) endpoints included rescue therapy, colectomy and readmission. RESULTS: Eighty-nine patients, 48 (54%) male, mean age 38 years, all received intravenous hydrocortisone 400mg/d (median 5 days [range 1-11]). Median follow-up was 14 months (2-33). Forty-eight (54%) were diagnosed the year prior to or at the time of admission. Thirty-six (40%) required rescue therapy (infliximab 25/36, ciclosporin 12/36, one receiving both). Twenty-one (24%) underwent colectomy on the index admission (9/21) or during follow-up (12/21). Median UCEIS score (possible range 0-8) was 5 (3-8). UCEIS was higher in patients requiring rescue therapy or colectomy (median score 6 [range 4-8] versus 5/8 [3-8], both p < 0.005). For UCEIS ≥5, 27/54 (50%) required rescue therapy, compared with 9/33 (27%) for UCEIS ≤4 (p = 0.037). When UCEIS was ≥5, 18/54 (33%) came to colectomy during follow-up, compared with 3/33 (9%) with UCEIS ≤4. Of 14 patients with UCEIS 7 or 8, 11/14 needed rescue therapy and 13/14 met any adverse endpoint. CONCLUSION: Endoscopic severity is associated with a worse outcome in ASC. When the UCEIS is ≥7 on admission, almost all patients will need treatment with infliximab or ciclosporin beyond steroids. This may mark a threshold for an early decision to use infliximab or ciclosporin.
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