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Very early onset inflammatory bowel disease (VEO-IBD) is defined as IBD presenting before 6 years of age. When compared with IBD diagnosed in older children, VEO-IBD has some distinct characteristics such as a higher likelihood of an underlying monogenic etiology or primary immune deficiency. In addition, patients with VEO-IBD have a higher incidence of inflammatory bowel disease unclassified (IBD-U) as compared with older-onset IBD. In some populations, VEO-IBD represents the age group with the fastest growing incidence of IBD. There are contradicting reports on whether VEO-IBD is more resistant to conventional medical interventions. There is a strong need for ongoing research in the field of VEO-IBD to provide optimized management of these complex patients. Here, we provide an approach to diagnosis and management of patients with VEO-IBD. These recommendations are based on expert opinion from members of the VEO-IBD Consortium ( We highlight the importance of monogenic etiologies, underlying immune deficiencies, and provide a comprehensive description of monogenic etiologies identified to date that are responsible for VEO-IBD.

Original publication




Journal article


Inflammatory bowel diseases

Publication Date



Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Department of Pediatrics, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.