Background: Recent epidemiological studies suggest that the prevalences of Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC) are increasing in the United States. We sought to determine whether nationwide rates of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) hospitalizations have increased in response to temporal trends in prevalence.
Methods: We identified all admissions with a primary diagnosis of CD or UC, or 1 of their complications in the Nationwide Inpatient Sample between 1998 and 2004. National estimates of hospitalization rates and rates of surgery were determined using the U.S. Census population as the denominator.
Results: There were an estimated 359,124 and 214,498 admissions for CD and UC, respectively. The overall hospitalization rate for CD was 18.0 per 100,000 and that for UC was 10.8 per 100,000. There was a 4.3% annual relative increase in hospitalization rate for CD (P < 0.0001) and a 3.0% annual increase for UC (P < 0.0001). Surgery rates were 3.4 bowel resections per 100,000 for CD and 1.2 colectomies per 100,000 for UC and remained stable. There were no temporal patterns for average length of stay for CD (5.8 days) or for UC (6.8 days). The national estimate of total inpatient charges attributable to CD increased from $762 million to $1,330 million between 1998 and 2004, and that for UC increased from $592 million to $945 million.
Conclusions: Hospitalization rates for IBD, particularly CD, have increased within a 7-year period, incurring a substantial rise in inflation-adjusted economic burden. The findings reinforce the need for effective treatment strategies to reduce IBD complications.