Background: The incidence of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in Denmark is considered to be among the highest in Europe. However, the diseases are relatively rare and therefore it would be useful if existing registers could replace ad hoc examination in the surveillance of IBD.
Methods: The present study used the Danish National Registry of Patients to estimate incidence rates, 1981-1992.
Results: A total of 2806 patients with Crohn's disease (CD) and 8125 with ulcerative colitis (UC) were identified. The mean incidence for CD was 4.6 (5.4 for women and 3.7 for men) per 100,000 per year, with a peak incidence in younger women. The incidence increased in most age groups with the highest increase in older women. The mean incidence for UC was 13.2 (13.4 for women and 13.0 for men) per 100,000 per year, with the highest incidence in older men. A decreasing tendency in the incidence was present in most age groups.
Conclusions: The present study found an increasing incidence for CD and a stable incidence with a tendency to decrease for UC. Comparison with ad hoc studies indicates that it is possible to use the Danish National Registry of Patients in the surveillance of IBD, especially for CD.