Frailty risk and treatment strategy in elderly-onset inflammatory bowel disease. A Norwegian nationwide population-based registry study

Dig Liver Dis. 2024 Mar 2:S1590-8658(24)00262-7. doi: 10.1016/j.dld.2024.02.002. Online ahead of print.


Background/aims: To determine real-world medical and surgical treatment patterns in elderly-onset inflammatory bowel disease in a nationwide cohort, and to investigate associations between frailty and treatment choices.

Methods: Norwegian health registries were used to identify adult-onset (born 1950-1989) and elderly-onset (born 1910-1949) patients with Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC) diagnosed 2010-2017 (n = 13,006). Patients were classified as no, low and intermediate/high frailty risk after the Hospital Frailty Risk Score. Outcomes included use of medical and surgical treatment.

Results: Within five years, elderly-onset patients received less biologics (13% [CD], 7% [UC]) and immunomodulators (24% [CD], 11% [UC]), and major surgery was more frequent (22% [CD], 9% [UC]) than in adult-onset. Respective log rank tests were significant (p < 0.01). Compared to no frailty risk groups, elderly-onset UC with intermediate/high frailty risk had lower probability of starting biologics (4% versus 9%), immunomodulators (7% versus 13%) and 5-aminosalisylic acids (66% versus 84%), and elderly-onset CD with intermediate/high frailty risk had higher probability of starting prednisolone (67% versus 49%). Respective log rank tests were significant (p < 0.05).

Conclusions: Elderly-onset patients received less biologics and immunomodulators and a larger proportion underwent major surgery. Frailty risk in elderly-onset patients was associated with increased use of prednisolone, and less use of 5-aminosalisylic acids, immunomodulators and biologics.

Keywords: Elderly-onset; Frailty; Inflammatory bowel disease; Real-world data.