[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Current therapy for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients often involves agents that suppress the immune system, placing patients at an increased risk for developing infections, of which several are potentially vaccine preventable. Many IBD patients are not being vaccinated appropriately. The aims of this study were to assess gastroenterologist's knowledge regarding vaccinating the IBD patient, eliciting the barriers that prevent vaccinations, and defining the gastroenterologist's role in vaccinations.
One thousand gastroenterologists, randomly selected from the membership of the American College of Gastroenterology, were asked to complete a 19 question electronic survey regarding the suitable vaccines for the immunocompetent and immunosuppressed IBD patient and the barriers to recommending the vaccines. The perceived role of the gastroenterologist versus the primary care physician (PCP) was also assessed.
In all, 108 responses were analyzed; 68 (62%) gastroenterologists managed 40+ IBD patients, with 65 (52%) asking their patients about immunization history most or all of the time. The majority believed that the PCP should determine which vaccinations to give (64%) and to administer the vaccines (83%). Overall, 66%-88% of gastroenterologists correctly recommended the inactivated vaccines for their IBD patients not on immunosuppressive therapies while 20%-30% incorrectly recommended administering the live vaccines to their immunosuppressed patients.
Gastroenterologist knowledge of the appropriate immunizations to recommend to the IBD patient is poor and may be the primary reason why the majority of gastroenterologists believe that the PCP should be responsible for vaccinations. Educational programs on vaccinations directed to gastroenterologists who prescribe immunosuppressive agents are needed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Patients with chronic, immune-mediated conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are often treated with long-term immunosuppressive therapies, potentially increasing their risk of developing an infection. Empiric data suggest that vaccines are underutilized in immunocompromised patients, despite published guidelines recommending their use. We aimed to assess exposure risk and immunization status among patients receiving care in an IBD specialty clinic.
Patients completed a self-administered, pretested, structured questionnaire during a routine visit for the management of IBD. Survey questions related to medical and immunization histories, and exposures to known risk factors for influenza, pneumococcus, viral hepatitis, and varicella. Additionally, in a subgroup of patients who agreed to donate a sample of blood, immune status to hepatitis A (HAV), hepatitis B (HBV), and varicella was determined.
Two hundred four patients were asked to participate in the study; 169 completed surveys and comprised the study population. Mean age was 35 yr (range 13-75 yr). One hundred forty-six respondents (86%) reported current or prior use of immunosuppressive medications. Only 45% of respondents recalled tetanus immunization within the past 10 yr, 41 (28%) reported regularly receiving flu shots, and 13 (9%) reported having received pneumococcal vaccine. The most common reasons for nonimmunization with influenza included lack of awareness (49%) and concern for side effects (18%). Responses indicated that 75 (44%) patients were at risk for HBV but only 47 (28%) had been vaccinated against the infection; of patients with previous HBV vaccination, only three of nine (33%) had measurable antibodies against hepatitis B surface antigen.
Immunization against selected vaccine-preventable illnesses was uncommon in patients with IBD, despite the presence of significant risk factors. Efforts to improve immunization status among patients with IBD and other chronic, immune-mediated conditions are needed.
The American Journal of Gastroenterology 09/2006; 101(8):1834-40. · 9.21 Impact Factor
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