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ISRN Gastroenterology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 285475, 6 pages
Research Article

Clinical Diagnostic Clues in Crohn's Disease: A 41-Year Experience

1Facultad de Medicina, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, 8330024 Santiago, Chile
2Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de los Andes, 7620001 Santiago, Chile
3Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Chile, 8380453 Santiago, Chile

Received 15 August 2012; Accepted 23 September 2012

Academic Editors: J. Chen, J. M. Kim, and K. Mansour

Copyright © 2012 C. Quintana et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Determining the diagnosis of Crohn’s disease has been highly difficult mainly during the first years of this study carried out at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica (PUC) Clinical Hospital. For instance, it has been frequently confused with Irritable bowel syndrome and sometimes misdiagnosed as ulcerative colitis, infectious colitis or enterocolitis, intestinal lymphoma, or coeliac disease. Consequently, it seems advisable to characterize what the most relevant clinical features are, in order to establish a clear concept of Crohn's disease. This difficulty may still be a problem at other medical centers in developing countries. Thus, sharing this information may contribute to a better understanding of this disease. Based on the clinical experience gained between 1963 and 2004 and reported herein, the main clinical characteristics of the disease are long-lasting day and night abdominal pain, which becomes more intense after eating and diarrhoea, sometimes associated to a mass in the abdomen, anal lesions, and other additional digestive and nondigestive clinical features. Nevertheless, the main aim of this work has been the following: is it possible to make, in an early stage, the diagnosis of Crohn's disease with a high degree of certainty exclusively with clinical data?