Course of Crohn's disease prior to establishment of the diagnosis

Z Gastroenterol. 2008 Feb;46(2):187-92. doi: 10.1055/s-2007-963524.


Background: The course of Crohn's disease prior to the establishment of the diagnosis is widely unknown. Therefore, we instigated a survey amongst newly diagnosed patients.

Patients and methods: Patients diagnosed with CD less than 12 months before enrollment were included. Data on demography, social status, time interval to diagnosis, symptoms, and health care service use were collected in a retrospective, web-based, census. Patients were contacted in cooperation with two organizations: a German patients' organization (Deutsche Morbus Crohn/Colitis ulcerosa Vereinigung e.V. [DCCV]) and a professional organization of German gastroenterologists (Berufsverband der Niedergelassenen Gastroenterologen Deutschlands e.V. [bng]). Study participation was anonymous by use of a transaction number.

Results: The median interval period between onset of first symptoms and diagnosis was 13 months. During this time, participants reported having five doctor consultations on average, with 44% of them having a mean of 1.5 hospitalizations. 65% were unfit for work with a 14 day median (2 to 480 days) due to their symptoms. A mean (+/-SD) of 8.6 (+/-7.1) diagnostic tests were performed before the diagnosis was established. Overall health state was judged as temporarily bad or very bad by 84% of the participants. Age at diagnosis, characteristic symptoms, and localization of the disease for the participants did not differ from previously reported international data.

Discussion: This web-based survey shows a substantial time interval of over one year until diagnosis of Crohn's disease amongst the study participants. This period is characterized by both psychological stress and impaired ability to work.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Crohn Disease / diagnosis*
  • Data Collection
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Education
  • Employment
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Germany
  • Health Status
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors