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Open access

Tsvetelina Velikova, R. Miladinova, E. Ivanova-Todorova, D. Kyurkchiev and Z. Spasova


Crohn's disease (CD) may have some severe complications that pose an increasing health burden and negatively impact the quality of life. There are two major types - intestinal and extraintestinal complications, in which immune and non-immune mechanisms take place. We aimed to search for some associations between specific extraintestinal manifestation and intestinal complications in CD patients with some clinicallaboratory findings, immunological markers, and the therapy administered. We examined retrospectively medical files of 26 patients with CD at mean age 42 ± 13 years, including the laboratory results. The immunological markers fecal calprotectin (FC) and fecal lactoferrin (FL) were assessed in frozen fecal samples of the chosen patients. Seventy-three percent of the investigated CD patients had some extraintestinal manifestation and/or intestinal complications, at least 13/26 had intestinal complications. All three patients with extraintestinal signs were positive for FC and 2/3 were positive for FL. We observed a higher serum level of CRP (24.49 mg/l vs. 3.13 mg/l, p = 0.010), slightly lowered serum level of hemoglobin (120 g/l vs. 145 g/l, p = 0.044) and about 2-fold lower iron level (7.23 μmol/l vs. 14.0 μmol/l, p = 0.019) in patients with intestinal complications compared to patients without complications, respectively. Four out of thirteen patients with intestinal complications were without immunosuppressive therapy at the time of our study, and nine out of thirteen - on immunosuppressive drugs. Routine laboratory and immunology testing could be beneficial for gastroenterologists in identifying patients at high risk for the development of complications and in the decision making for more aggressive therapy early after diagnosis.

Open access

Vania M. Youroukova, Denitsa G. Dimitrova, Anna D. Valerieva, Spaska S. Lesichkova, Tsvetelina V. Velikova, Ekaterina I. Ivanova-Todorova and Kalina D. Tumangelova-Yuzeir


Background: Bronchial asthma is a heterogeneous disease that includes various subtypes. They may share similar clinical characteristics, but probably have different pathological mechanisms.

Aim: To identify phenotypes using cluster analysis in moderate to severe bronchial asthma and to compare differences in clinical, physiological, immunological and inflammatory data between the clusters.

Patients and methods: Forty adult patients with moderate to severe bronchial asthma out of exacerbation were included. All underwent clinical assessment, anthropometric measurements, skin prick testing, standard spirometry and measurement fraction of exhaled nitric oxide. Blood eosinophilic count, serum total IgE and periostin levels were determined. Two-step cluster approach, hierarchical clustering method and k-mean analysis were used for identification of the clusters.

Results: We have identified four clusters. Cluster 1 (n=14) - late-onset, non-atopic asthma with impaired lung function, Cluster 2 (n=13) - late-onset, atopic asthma, Cluster 3 (n=6) - late-onset, aspirin sensitivity, eosinophilic asthma, and Cluster 4 (n=7) - early-onset, atopic asthma.

Conclusions: Our study is the first in Bulgaria in which cluster analysis is applied to asthmatic patients. We identified four clusters. The variables with greatest force for differentiation in our study were: age of asthma onset, duration of diseases, atopy, smoking, blood eosinophils, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs hypersensitivity, baseline FEV1/FVC and symptoms severity. Our results support the concept of heterogeneity of bronchial asthma and demonstrate that cluster analysis can be an useful tool for phenotyping of disease and personalized approach to the treatment of patients.