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, 71 (265), 399-405

Mortality in Crohn's Disease--A Clinical Analysis

  • PMID: 2602539

Mortality in Crohn's Disease--A Clinical Analysis

H A Andrews et al. Q J Med.


We have examined the causes of death and the changing pattern of mortality over time among 769 patients with Crohn's disease under long-term review between 1944 and 1984. One hundred and fifty-six patients have died. The cause of death could not be classified in five. The deaths were divided into those related directly to Crohn's disease and unrelated deaths from incidental causes. The cause and age at death among 59 unrelated deaths was similar to that expected in the general population. The common causes of related deaths were sepsis, digestive tract cancer, pulmonary embolus and metabolic disorders. There were 30 deaths after surgery, usually from sepsis after emergency surgical treatment. There have been fewer deaths in recent years and the cause of death has altered. Sepsis and electrolyte imbalance have declined in importance and cancer of the digestive tract is now the most common cause of related death. Occasional death from sepsis occurs in elderly patients. Elective rather than emergency surgical treatment and the routine use of antimicrobial prophylaxis before surgery has probably reduced mortality. With the exception of cancer of the digestive tract the appropriate medical and surgical treatment of patients with Crohn's disease can eliminate excess mortality previously associated with the disorder.

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