Incidence, prevalence and clinical course of primary biliary cirrhosis in a Spanish community

Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2007 Oct;19(10):859-64. doi: 10.1097/MEG.0b013e328277594a.


Background and aims: Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is characterized by the autoimmune inflammatory response of small intrahepatic bile ducts. Prevalence in Spain is estimated as 61.9 cases per million inhabitants, whereas Northern Europe rates over 200 cases/million. Our objective was to determine the incidence and prevalence of PBC in our health area.

Material and methods: PBC was defined by the presence of abnormal liver tests (dissociated cholestasis) with positive antimitochondrial antibodies and/or compatible liver histology. Medical records from patients diagnosed between 1990 and 2002 were reviewed retrospectively. The following data were collected: diagnostic data, demographic and analytic data, liver histology and stage and treatment and disease outcome.

Results: In a population of 389 758 inhabitants, 87 patients were diagnosed with PBC. Mean age at diagnosis was 63.9+/-12.6 years. Eighty-four (96.6%) were women. Mean annual incidence was 17.2 per 10 inhabitants and the prevalence at the end of study was 195 per 10. Biopsy was performed in 71 (81.6%) patients, 61 of whom (86%) did not have fibrosis. Time of follow-up was 63.6+/-43.2 (2.28-153.9) months.

Conclusion: Incidence and prevalence in our reference area are higher than in some Spanish areas, as per the results previously published; however, they are comparable with those obtained in Northern Europe and the US.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Cholagogues and Choleretics / therapeutic use
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Biliary / diagnosis
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Biliary / drug therapy
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Biliary / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ursodeoxycholic Acid / therapeutic use


  • Biomarkers
  • Cholagogues and Choleretics
  • Ursodeoxycholic Acid