Background: It is not clear whether the incidence or early mortality related to peptic ulcer perforation has changed.
Aim: To evaluate the incidence and mortality related to peptic ulcer perforation while considering the intake of low-dose aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Methods: We recorded the numbers and details of all patients presenting in our region of Scotland with perforation between 1997 and 2006 including demography, drug usage and 30-day mortality.
Results: In subjects aged >65 years, the annual incidence of perforation was 32.7 per 10(5) of the age-specific population, of whom 10.7 per 10(5) were taking low-dose aspirin and 12.0 taking NSAIDs. These were all significantly higher (P < 0.001) than the corresponding incidence in subjects aged < or =65 years (6.6 per 10(5) overall, 1.1 taking aspirin and 2.5 taking NSAIDs). There was an increasing trend with time in the number of patients taking NSAIDs (chi(2) = 4.57, P = 0.03). Using univariate analysis, 30-day mortality was associated with aspirin [odds ratio, 2.32 (95% C.I., 1.20-4.47), P = 0.01] but not with NSAIDs. The strongest predictors of mortality were increasing age and comorbidity.
Conclusions: Perforation remains common in elderly patients including users of NSAIDs and aspirin. Early mortality is also noted in association with increasing age and comorbidity, but not independently with drug intake.