Objectives: Most chronic and recurrent gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms in the community are caused by functional GI disorders, such as functional dyspepsia and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It is not known, however, whether these conditions affect mortality. We present the results of a large community-based prospective study that examines this issue.
Methods: This was a 10-year follow-up, conducted in 2004, of individuals recruited into a community-based screening program for Helicobacter pylori. Data on mortality and cause of death at 10 years were obtained from the Office for National Statistics. Baseline demographic data, lifestyle factors, GI symptoms, and quality of life were recorded at study entry. The effect of all these factors on 10-year mortality was examined using univariate analysis and multivariate Cox regression analysis. All results were expressed as hazard ratios (HRs) with 99% confidence intervals (CIs).
Results: Symptom data were available for 8,323 (99.0%) of 8,407 individuals originally enrolled, comprising over 84,000 years of follow-up: 3,169 (38.1%) subjects had dyspepsia, and 264 (3.2%) IBS. There were 137 (1.65%) individuals who had died at 10 years. After multivariate analysis, there was no significant difference in likelihood of death at 10 years in those with dyspepsia (HR: 0.94; 99% CI: 0.58-1.54) or IBS (HR: 1.35; 99% CI: 0.36-5.10), compared with those not meeting the criteria for either condition.
Conclusions: Dyspepsia was not associated with an increased mortality in the community. Data for any effect of IBS on survival were less clear. Further studies are required to assess the impact of functional GI disorders on life expectancy.