Background: Health-related quality of life (HRQOL) has become an important tool in evaluating patient satisfaction in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). So far, few prospective follow-up studies have been done to identify variables that influence HRQOL. We aimed to identify demographic and clinical variables that influence HRQOL 5 years after diagnosis in patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) or Crohn disease (CD) included in a prospective follow-up study from 1990 to 1994 (the IBSEN study).
Methods: All patients completed the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Questionnaire (IBDQ), a disease-specific quality-of-life questionnaire translated into Norwegian and validated. We present data from 497 patients (328 UC patients and 169 CD patients, mean age 43.3 years, 48% female). The impact of age, gender, smoking, symptom severity, disease distribution, rheumatic symptoms and surgery on IBD patients' HRQOL was analysed.
Results: Women had a reduction in IBDQ total score of 10 points compared to men, CD patients had a reduction of 7.5 compared to UC patients. The patients with moderate/severe symptoms had a 50 points lower score than the patients without symptoms. The patients with rheumatic symptoms had a 10 points lower total score than the patients without these symptoms. All differences were statistically significant. The multiple regression analysis showed that symptom severity, rheumatic symptoms and female gender were the strongest predictors of reduction in HRQOL for both diagnosis groups.
Conclusion: IBD symptoms, rheumatic symptoms and female gender have a significant influence on patients' HRQOL as measured by IBDQ. This was confirmed by the regression analysis.