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Longitudinal impact of IBS-type symptoms on disease activity, healthcare utilization, psychological health, and quality of life in inflammatory bowel disease

Posted on: 6th March 2018

David J. Gracie, P. John Hamlin & Alexander C. Ford

The American Journal of Gastroenterology (2018)

OBJECTIVES
The impact of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)-type symptoms on the natural history of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is uncertain. We aimed to address this in a longitudinal study of secondary care patients.

METHODS
Longitudinal disease activity was defined by disease flare, escalation of medical therapy, hospitalization, or intestinal resection. The number of investigations performed and clinics attended determined healthcare utilization. Psychological well-being and quality of life were assessed using validated questionnaires. These outcomes were compared over a minimum period of 2 years between patients reporting IBS-type symptoms and patients with quiescent disease, occult inflammation, and active disease at baseline.

RESULTS
In 360 IBD patients, there were no differences in longitudinal disease activity between patients with IBS-type symptoms and patients with quiescent disease or occult inflammation. Disease flare and escalation of medical therapy was more common in patients with active disease than in patients with IBS-type symptoms (hazard ratio (HR) = 3.16; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.93–5.19 and HR = 3.24; 95% CI 1.98–5.31, respectively). A greater number of investigations were performed in patients with IBS-type symptoms than quiescent disease (P = 0.008), but not compared with patients with occult inflammation or active disease. Anxiety, depression, and somatization scores at follow up were higher, and quality-of-life scores lower, in patients with IBS-type symptoms when compared with patients with quiescent disease, but were similar to patients with active disease.

CONCLUSIONS
IBS-type symptoms in IBD were associated with increased healthcare utilization, psychological comorbidity, reduced quality of life, but not adverse disease activity outcomes during extended follow-up.


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