Objective: To assess the impact of possible risk factors on intestinal resection and postoperative recurrence in Crohn's disease (CD) and to evaluate the disease course.
Summary background data: The results of previous studies on possible risk factors for surgery and recurrence in Crohn's disease have been inconsistent. Varying findings may be explained by referral biases and small numbers of patients in some studies.
Methods: Data on initial intestinal resection and postoperative recurrence were evaluated retrospectively in a population-based cohort of 1,936 patients. The influence of concomitant risk factors was assessed using uni- and multivariate analyses.
Results: The cumulative rate of intestinal resection was 44%, 61%, and 71% at 1, 5, and 10 years after diagnosis. Postoperative recurrences occurred in 33% and 44% at 5 and 10 years after resection. The relative risk of surgery was increased in patients with CD involving any part of the small bowel, in those having perianal fistulas, and in those who were 45 to 59 years of age at diagnosis. Female gender and perianal fistulas, as well as small bowel and continuous ileocolonic disease, increase the relative risk of recurrence.
Conclusions: Three of four patients with CD will undergo an intestinal resection; half of them will ultimately relapse. The extent of disease at diagnosis and the presence of perianal fistulas have an impact on the risk of surgery and the risk of postoperative recurrence. Women run a higher risk of postoperative recurrence than men. The frequency of surgery has decreased over time, but the postoperative relapse rate remains unchanged.