A United Kingdom inflammatory bowel disease database: making the effort worthwhile

J Crohns Colitis. 2010 Oct;4(4):405-12. doi: 10.1016/j.crohns.2010.01.003. Epub 2010 Feb 19.


Background: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a paradigm of chronic illness, requires for its safe clinical management ready access to complete information, not always possible using paper records.

Aim: To develop an IBD database (DB) for both individual patient management and collating information across centres.

Methods: Access® based, with a minimum dataset.

Results: Prospectively collected data for 11,432 patients from 21 centres. PROFILE DIAGNOSIS: Ulcerative colitis (UC) 56%, Crohn's disease (CD) 40%, indeterminate colitis 4%. M:F ratio: UC 1.08:1, CD 0.72:1. Median age at diagnosis: UC 39, CD 30 years. Operated: UC 16%, CD 47%. Thiopurine use: UC 16%, CD 29%. IBD related mortality: 0.74%.

Discussion: A snapshot of this large IBD cohort shows the disease profile across the UK is similar to other large series. Unexpected gaps, sometimes large emerged (e.g. data on smoking and immunosuppression) highlighting the need for clear definition, consistency and completeness of data collection. Clinical management is made easier by the 'at a glance' summary, automated clinic letters, and facility for monitoring and audit, but the time required limited its 'real-time' use.

Conclusion: Our experience shows it is possible to collect data from centres across the country which truly reflects clinical practice. We have learned as much from the process itself as from the data, principally, information needs to be well defined, validated at entry, and updated at every visit, a time consuming sequence which we had underestimated. Our lessons learned may help inform the development of a national database, and support national IBD standards and audit.

MeSH terms

  • Colectomy
  • Colitis / drug therapy
  • Colitis / epidemiology
  • Colitis / surgery
  • Colitis / therapy
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / epidemiology
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / therapy
  • Crohn Disease / drug therapy
  • Crohn Disease / epidemiology
  • Crohn Disease / surgery
  • Crohn Disease / therapy
  • Data Collection
  • Databases, Factual*
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / drug therapy
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / surgery
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / therapy
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology


  • Immunosuppressive Agents