Background: The disease phenotype at diagnosis and the disease course of Crohn's disease
(CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC) show remarkable heterogeneity across patients.
Objective: This review aims to summarize the currently available evidence on clinical and some environmental
predictive factors, which clinicians should evaluate in the everyday practice together with
other laboratory and imaging data to prevent disease progression, enable a more personalized therapy,
and avoid negative disease outcomes.
Results: In recent population-based epidemiological and referral cohort studies, the evolution of disease
phenotype of CD and UC varied significantly. Most CD and severe UC patients still require hospitalization
or surgery/colectomy during follow-up. A change in the natural history of inflammatory
bowel diseases (IBD) with improved outcomes in parallel with tailored positioning of aggressive immunomodulator
and biological therapy has been suspected.
Conclusion: According to the currently available literature, it is of major importance to refer IBD
cases at risk for adverse disease outcomes as early during the disease course as possible.