Objectives: Colectomy rates for ulcerative colitis (UC) have been inconsistently reported. We assessed temporal trends of colectomy rates for UC, stratified by emergent vs. elective colectomy indication.
Methods: From 1997 to 2009, we identified adults hospitalized for a flare of UC. Medical charts were reviewed. Temporal changes were evaluated using linear regression models to estimate the average annual percent change (AAPC) in surgical rates. Logistic regression analysis compared: (i) UC patients responding to medical management in hospital to those who underwent colectomy; (ii) UC patients who underwent an emergent vs. elective colectomy; and (iii) temporal trends of drug utilization.
Results: From 1997 to 2009, colectomy rates significantly dropped for elective colectomies with an AAPC of -7.4% (95% confidence interval (CI): -10.8%, -3.9%). The rate of emergent colectomies remained stable with an AAPC of -1.4% (95% CI: -4.8%, 2.0%). Azathioprine/6-mercaptopurine prescriptions increased from 1997 to 2009 (odds ratio (OR)=1.15; 95% CI: 1.09-1.22) and infliximab use increased after 2005 (OR=1.68; 95% CI: 1.25-2.26). A 13% per year risk adjusted reduction in the odds of colectomy (OR=0.87; 95% CI: 0.83-0.92) was observed in UC patients responding to medical management compared with those who required colectomy. Emergent colectomy patients had a shorter duration of flare (<2 weeks vs. 2-8 weeks, OR=5.31; 95% CI: 1.58-17.81) and underwent colectomy early after diagnosis (<1 year vs. 1-3 years, OR=5.48; 95% CI: 2.18-13.79).
Conclusions: From 1997 to 2009, use of purine anti-metabolites increased and elective colectomy rates in UC patients decreased significantly. In contrast, emergent colectomy rates were stable, which may have been due to rapid progression of disease activity.