N18 Introduction of inflammatory bowel disease specialized dietitian and nutritional status in a multidisciplinary IBD team

Hoekx, S.(1);Vanderstappen, J.(1);Wellens, J.(1);Verstockt, B.(1);Marc, F.(1);Vermeire, S.(1);Guedelha Sabino, J.(1);

(1)KU Leuven, Gastroenterology, Leuven, Belgium;


Qualitative inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) care is marked by a multidisciplinary approach including physicians, nurses, psychologists and dietitians. Specialist IBD dietitians can address the specific needs of patients with IBD, with an emphasis on nutritional status, disease activity, and functional symptoms. We wanted to obtain a snapshot of the IBD population referred to the dietitian at our IBD clinic.


Since February 2021, two specialist IBD dietitians were hired at the multidisciplinary IBD-team of our tertiary referral centre. Data from all IBD patients seen by the IBD-dietitians were prospectively collected. Patients with IBD were referred to the IBD dietitians for dietary advice concerning optimization of nutritional status, modulation of diet-induced abdominal symptoms, and IBD-related problems (e.g. high output stoma, obstruction, enteral or parenteral nutrition). Malnutrition as reason for referral was defined as an abnormal body mass index (BMI <18.5 or >25 kg/m²).


From 1 February 2021 until 16 November 2021, 219 IBD patients (58.4% women, median age 38 years, 127 Crohn’s disease, 92 ulcerative colitis) were seen by the IBD-dietitians. Patient characteristics are described in table 1. A total of 303 contacts were registered, including 82% in-hospital consultations (16% in-patient clinic, 66% outpatient clinic) and 18% remote consultations (via telephone or email). The median BMI at first consultation was 23.49 kg/m2. In this cohort, 46.6% of IBD patients had a normal BMI, 37% were obese or overweight, and 13.2% has underweight. Males had a significantly higher BMI than females (BMI 24.5 vs 22.5 kg/m2, p-value 0.048). The main reasons for referral were IBD-related symptoms or disease activity (46.6%), malnutrition (26%), functional symptoms (16.4%), and patient’s interest in receiving more information on diet (9%). Of note, none of the patients were being treated with enteral nutrition at time of referral, and only 5 patients were being treated with parenteral nutrition. Most patients received dietary advice (92%) and only 1 patient was started with enteral nutrition.


The introduction of IBD-dietitians in our multidisciplinary IBD care program has allowed IBD-patients with or without malnutrition, to be assessed by a specialist IBD dietitian who can provide appropriate dietary advice. Of note was that despite an already expert IBD center with a multidisciplinary team in place, the prevalence of malnutrition in this selected IBD cohort was very high. Nevertheless, IBD disease activity and IBD-related symptoms were the main reason for referral to the IBD-dietitian, reflecting the need for tailored nutritional advice complementary to medical or surgical treatment.