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Background/Aims: Truelove and Witts criteria have been used to define acute severe colitis since the 1950s. However, hemoglobin (an additional criterion of the definition) levels in the general population in developing countries are lower than in the population of developed countries. We aimed to determine the relevance of Truelove and Witts criteria in the Indian population. Methods: Consecutive patients with acute severe colitis satisfying the Truelove and Witts criteria, hospitalized at a single center between April 2015 and December 2016 were included. All patients received intravenous corticosteroids and 16 required colectomy. The hemoglobin levels at admission were subsequently excluded from the classification criteria, and the effect this had on the criteria for diagnosis was determined. Results: Out of 61 patients of acute severe colitis diagnosed according to the original Truelove and Witts criteria, 12 patients (20%) had 1 additional criterion, 33 (54%) had 2 additional criteria and 16 (26%) had 3 or more additional criteria in addition to 6 or more blood stained stools on admission. On excluding hemoglobin as an additional criterion from the Truelove and Witts definition, all patients still met the criteria for acute severe colitis. Conclusions: Truelove and Witts criteria can be used to define acute severe colitis in India, despite lower mean hemoglobin in the native population.

Original publication




Journal article


Intest Res

Publication Date





69 - 74


Acute severe colitis, Anemia, Definition, India, Truelove and Witts criteria