Background: Health-related quality of life studies provide insight into the influence of Crohn's disease on patients' lives, and the potential impact on professional and personal productivity.
Aim: To compare health-related quality of life in Crohn's disease patients with that in other patients and healthy controls, and between medically and surgically treated Crohn's disease patients, and to correlate health-related quality of life with Crohn's disease activity.
Methods: An expanded MEDLINE search of full length, English language, adult Crohn's disease studies from January 1966 to September 2000 was performed. The key words utilized were: 'Quality of Life', 'Health Status' or 'Health Related Quality of Life' and 'Crohn's' or 'Inflammatory Bowel Disease'.
Results: A total of 258 articles were identified; 236 subsequently were excluded, leaving 22 for analysis. Compared with Crohn's disease patients, the health-related quality of life was better in healthy controls and in ulcerative colitis patients (except pre-colectomy), but similar to or worse than that in many other medical conditions. The health-related quality of life was directly correlated with Crohn's disease activity, and was worse in active disease than in remission. The health-related quality of life was improved only in the short term in surgically vs. medically treated Crohn's disease patients.
Conclusions: Health-related quality of life analysis provides important insights into the impact of Crohn's disease, and should be included in clinical trials. Researchers, clinicians and other health care providers need to be cognizant of the impact of the health-related quality of life upon patients' lives.