Aim: Clinical symptoms are the most important factors used by physicians to evaluate the severity and extent of ulcerative colitis (UC). In this context, colonoscopy is also a useful diagnostic tool. We have recently developed an endoscopic activity index (EAI) to assess the severity of UC. Here, we assess the correlations among the EAI, other endoscopic indices, and clinical scores. The usefulness of the EAI for choosing treatment options, such as intravenous corticosteroid or cyclosporine A (CsA), in severe UC patients was also evaluated. Methods: Clinical symptoms and endoscopic finding were evaluated in 396 patients with UC (454 colonoscopies). The EAI was scored using the following six items: ulcer size, ulcer depth, redness, bleeding, edema, and mucus exudates. The patients were also scored using Matts' grade, Rachmilewitz's endoscopic index, and the Lichtiger index. Results: Our results showed that (1) the EAI scores were closely correlated with those of the Lichtiger index, Matts' grade, and Rachmilewitz's endoscopic index; (2) the EAI scores significantly decreased in patients who responded to treatment, while Matts' grade did not change in some responders treated with intravenous CsA and steroid; (3) patients with a higher EAI (14-16) tended to be refractory to corticosteroid therapy (responders 19%) compared to CsA (77%), while steroid treatment was effective in 58% of patients with EAI scores of 11-13. Conclusions: The EAI is equivalent to other endoscopic indices and relatively more useful in choosing a treatment for patients with severe UC.
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