Background: In the northern hemisphere, the incidence of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) has a north-south gradient, suggesting a link between ultraviolet (UV) exposure or vitamin D status and the pathogenesis of IBD.
Aim: To test the association of UV exposure with the rates and severity of IBD hospitalisation.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective nationwide analysis of 649 932 Crohn's disease (CD), 384 267 ulcerative colitis (UC), and 288 894 297 non-IBD hospitalisations in the US between 1998 and 2010. Mean UV exposure was assigned to each hospitalisation using surface measures from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Relative rates across UV exposures were estimated for IBD hospitalisations, prolonged hospitalisations, bowel surgeries and deaths.
Results: Among IBD patients, lower UV exposures had increased hospitalisation rates for CD (217.8 vs. 182.5 per 100 000 overall hospitalisations with low and very high UV, respectively; P trend <0.001) and UC (123.2 vs. 113.8 per 100 000; P trend = 0.033). Low UV groups had greater relative rates of prolonged hospitalisations [CD: 1.13, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.07-1.19; UC: 1.21, 95% CI 1.13-1.30], bowel surgeries (CD: 1.24, 95% CI 1.16-1.32; UC: 1.21, 95% CI 1.09-1.33), and CD deaths (CD: 1.76, 95% CI 1.14-2.71; UC: 1.24, 95% CI 0.92-1.67). Among non-IBD patients, low UV was associated with prolonged hospitalisations (1.09; 95% CI 1.07-1.11) and deaths (1.13; 95% CI 1.09-1.17), but not bowel surgeries (1.01; 95% CI 0.99-1.03).
Conclusions: Lower ultraviolet exposure is associated with greater rates of hospitalisation, prolonged hospitalisation and the need for bowel surgery in IBD. This trend for bowel surgery was not seen with non-IBD encounters.
© 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.