A 20-Year Temporal Change Analysis in Incidence, Presenting Phenotype and Mortality, in the Dutch IBDSL Cohort-Can Diagnostic Factors Explain the Increase in IBD Incidence?

Tim R. A. van den Heuvel*, Steven F. G. Jeuring, Maurice P. Zeegers, Dorien H. E. van Dongen, Anouk Wolters, Ad A. M. Masclee, Wim H. Hameeteman, Marielle J. L. Romberg-Camps, Liekele E. Oostenbrug, Marieke J. Pierik, Daisy M. Jonkers

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background: The aim was to study temporal changes in incidence, disease phenotype at diagnosis, and mortality of adult inflammatory bowel disease [IBD] patients in South Limburg, The Netherlands, diagnosed between 1991 and 2010. In addition, the 2010 IBD prevalence was estimated.

Methods: A multi-faceted approach including hospital administrations, the national pathology registry [PALGA], and general practitioners led to the identification of 1162 patients with Crohn's disease [CD], 1663 with ulcerative colitis [UC], and 84 with unclassified IBD [IBD-U]. Temporal changes in incidence, disease phenotype, and mortality were studied using linear, multinomial regression analyses, and standardised mortality rates [SMR], respectively.

Results: The annual incidences increased from 17.90/100000 in 1991 to 40.36/100000 in 2010 for IBD, from 5.84/100000 to 17.49/100000 for CD, and from 11.67/100000 to 21.47/100000 for UC p <0.01 for all]. A shift towards milder disease at diagnosis was observed over time [eg decrease of complicated disease in CD, increase of proctitis in UC]. IBD mortality was similar to that in the general population (SMR 0.92; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.81-1.05), and did not change over time. The estimated IBD prevalence was 830/100000.

Conclusions: The IBD incidence in South Limburg increased significantly between 1991 and 2010. The shift towards milder disease at diagnosis in parallel with the improved diagnostics and ability to detect low-grade inflammation was suggestive of an important role of diagnostic factors in this increase. Environmental factors probably played a role as well. The mortality was low and, together with the increasing incidence, led to the high prevalence of IBD in South Limburg.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1169-1179
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Crohn's & Colitis
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017


  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • epidemiology
  • time trend

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