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Why Classify Inflammatory Bowel Disease?

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University Hospitals; Cleveland, Ohio

Ann Intern Med. 1982;97(2):273-274. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-97-2-273
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When inflammatory bowel disease is confined primarily to the colon, some difficulty is occasionally encountered in distinguishing between its two main constituents, ulcerative colitis and Crohn disease. Although the pathologic and clinical spectra of these two disorders are, by current thinking, usually quite distinct from one another (1), they do overlap at times and clinicians can be hard pressed in these borderline cases to arrive at a definitive diagnosis. Physicians have been cautioned to reappraise patients with inflammatory bowel disease occasionally because clinical and pathologic features may change (2).

To address the problem of classification, the research committee of the


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