Heterogeneity in pharmacological treatment and outcomes in Crohn's disease patients in Catalonia: a population-based observational study

Ann Med. 2022 Dec;54(1):1255-1264. doi: 10.1080/07853890.2022.2069851.


Background: Heterogeneity in the treatment of a disease is a marker of suboptimal quality of care. The aim of this study is to evaluate the heterogeneity in the treatment used and the outcomes for Crohn's disease (CD) in Catalonia.

Methods: All patients with CD included in the Catalan Health Surveillance System (data on more than seven million individuals from 2011 to 2017) were identified. The different Catalonian health areas were grouped into 19 district groups (DG). Treatments used rates (systemic corticosteroids, non-biological and biological immunosuppressant) and outcomes rates (hospitalization and surgery) were calculated.

Results: The use of systemic corticosteroids presented a decreasing trend over the study period, with an average rate of use in the different territories between 11% and 17%. The use of non-biological immunosuppressant treatment has remained stable, with an average rate of use ranging from 22% to 40% per year depending on the DG. The use of biological immunosuppressant treatment increased with an average rate of use in the different territories ranging from 10 to 23%.Hospitalizations for any reason showed an increasing trend between 2011 and 2017 with an average rate of between 23% and 32% per year depending on the area. Hospitalizations for CD presented a decreasing trend, with an average rate of between 5% and 11% per year. Surgical treatment remained stable over time, rates per year were between 0.5% and 2%.

Conclusion: A remarkable geographical heterogeneity in the use of different treatments and in outcomes of CD was observed between different geographical areas of Catalonia. KEY MESSAGEThere is a notable geographical heterogeneity in the administration of biological and immunosuppressive treatments to Crohn's disease patients in Catalonia.There is also a geographical heterogeneity in their rates of hospitalization and surgical intervention.

Keywords: Crohn’s disease; Epidemiology; biologics; inflammatory bowel diseases; surgery.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Crohn Disease* / drug therapy
  • Crohn Disease* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Immunosuppressive Agents