Background/aims: Despite the remarkable increase in the incidence of Crohn's disease among Saudis in recent years, data about Crohn's disease in Saudi Arabia are scarce. The aim of this study was to determine the clinical epidemiology and phenotypic characteristics of Crohn's disease in the central region of Saudi Arabia.
Patients and methods: A data registry, Inflammatory Bowel Disease Information System (IBDIS), was used to register Crohn's disease patients who presented to the gastroenterology clinics in four tertiary care centers in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia between September 2009 and February 2013. Patients' characteristics, disease location, behavior, age at diagnosis according to the Montreal classification, course of the disease, and extraintestinal manifestation were recorded.
Results: Among 497 patients with Crohn's disease, 59% were males with a mean age at diagnosis of 25 years [95% Confidence Interval (CI): 24-26, range 5-75 years]. The mean duration from the time of complaint to the day of the diagnosis was 11 months, and the mean duration of the disease from diagnosis to the day of entry to the registry was 40 months. Seventy-seven percent of our patients were aged 17-40 years at diagnosis, 16.8% were ≤16 years of age, and 6.6% were >40 years of age. According to the Montreal classification of disease location, 48.8% of patients had ileocolonic involvement, 43.5% had limited disease to the terminal ileum or cecum, 7.7% had isolated colonic involvement, and 16% had an upper gastrointestinal involvement. Forty-two percent of our patients had a non-stricturing, non-penetrating behavior, while 32.8% had stricturing disease and 25.4% had penetrating disease.
Conclusion: Crohn's disease is frequently encountered in Saudi Arabia. The majority of patients are young people with a predilection for males, while its behavior resembled that of western societies in terms of age of onset, location, and behavior.