Professor Roger M Feakins
Accurate histopathological assessment of biopsies is important for the diagnosis, subclassification, and management of chronic idiopathic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). British Society of Gastroenterology (BSG) guidelines for the initial histopathological diagnosis of IBD were published in 1997. Changes since then include: more widespread use of full colonoscopy; greater recognition of the effects of time and treatment; improved documentation of variations in anatomical distribution; better understanding of the mimics of IBD; significant progress in clinical management; and modifications of terminology. Accordingly, an update is required. These revised guidelines aim to optimise the quality and consistency of reporting of biopsies taken for the initial diagnosis of IBD by summarising the literature and making recommendations based on the available evidence. Advice from existing clinical guidelines is also taken into account. Among the subjects discussed are: distinguishing IBD from other colitides, particularly infective colitis; subclassification of IBD (as ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, or IBD unclassified); the discriminant value of granulomas; aspects of disease distribution, including discontinuity in ulcerative colitis; time-related changes; differences between paediatric and adult IBD; the role of ileal and upper gastrointestinal biopsies; differential diagnoses such as diverticular colitis and diversion proctocolitis; and dysplasia. The need to correlate the histological features with clinical and endoscopic findings is emphasised. An approach to the conclusion of an IBD biopsy report based on the acronym Pattern, Activity, Interpretation, Dysplasia (PAID) is suggested. The key recommendations are listed at the end of the document.