Background: There has been burgeoning interest in quality of life (QoL) in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in recent decades, with hundreds of studies each year now assessing this outcome. This paper is part 2 of a systematic review evaluating 5 key QoL comparisons within IBD states and relative to others without IBD. Part 1 examined QoL comparing IBD and a healthy/general population and other medically ill groups. Part 2, presented here, examines within-disease comparisons of active/inactive disease, Ulcerative colitis (UC) / Crohn's disease (CD), and change in QoL over time. Outcomes using generic versus IBD-specific QoL measures were also examined.
Methods: Adult and pediatric studies were identified through systematic searches of 7 databases from the 1940s (where available) to October 2015.
Results: Of 6173 abstracts identified, 466 were selected for final review based on controlled design and validated measurement, of which 83 unique studies (75 adult, 8 pediatric) addressed the within-disease comparisons. The pooled mean QoL scores were significantly lower in active versus inactive IBD (n = 26) and for those with CD versus UC (n = 37), consistent across IBD-specific and generic QoL measures, for almost all comparisons. There was significant improvement in QoL over time (n = 37). Study quality was generally low to moderate. The most common measures of QoL were the disease-specific Inflammatory Bowel Disease Questionnaire and generic 36-Item Short Form Survey (SF-36) (adults) and the IBD-specific IMPACT (children).
Conclusions: For adults in particular, there was strong confirmation that QoL is poorer during active disease and may be poorer for those with CD. The finding that QoL can improve over time may be encouraging for individuals with this chronic disease.