Disease Activity Patterns of Inflammatory Bowel Disease - A Danish Nationwide Cohort Study 1995-2018

Mads Damsgaard Wewer*, Ebbe Langholz, Pia Munkholm, Flemming Bendtsen, Jakob Benedict Seidelin, Johan Burisch

*Corresponding author for this work


BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Few studies have assessed the contemporary patterns of disease activity in patients with inflammatory bowel disease [IBD]. We aimed to describe the disease patterns and their long-term outcomes.

METHODS: All Danish individuals with IBD between 1995 and 2018 were identified using information about IBD-related hospitalizations, surgeries and redeemed prescriptions. The disease activity patterns for 5- and 10-year periods were assessed.

RESULTS: In incident patients with Crohn's disease [CD], severe disease activity occurred in the year of diagnosis in 80% of patients; for ulcerative colitis [UC] this figure was 75%, in addition to 3.4% of UC patients who underwent a colectomy within the first year. After 20 years of disease, the proportion of CD and UC patients in remission increased to 89% and 72%, respectively. The proportion of prevalent patients in remission each year was stable, despite the introduction of biological therapies. A decreasing activity pattern was the most common in both CD and UC patients [both 45%]. The distribution of the disease activity patterns was seen to be stable over time. A quiescent disease pattern was accompanied by a significantly higher risk of intestinal cancer [HR: 3.37, 95% CI: 1.23-9.19] for CD patients, according to a Cox proportional hazards model. In UC patients, increasing disease activity [HR: 0.67, 95% CI: 0.31-1.48] was associated with an increased risk of intestinal cancer.

CONCLUSIONS: We report the distribution of disease patterns among IBD patients. Patients with quiescent CD, as well as UC patients with chronic continuous or increasing activity, were at increased risk of developing intestinal cancer.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Crohn's & colitis
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)329-337
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2023


  • Cohort Studies
  • Colitis, Ulcerative/epidemiology
  • Crohn Disease/epidemiology
  • Denmark/epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases/epidemiology


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