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Crohn's Disease Has Low Odds of Surgery

But 90 percent of patients will have a relapse

THURSDAY, Dec. 6 (HealthDay News) -- The outlook for Crohn's disease patients is better than was previously thought, with only a low risk of requiring surgery, but 90 percent of patients will experience a relapse, according to a study published in the December issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Inger Camilla Solberg, of Ulleval University Hospital in Oslo, Norway, followed up a population-based cohort of 843 new cases of inflammatory bowel disease for 10 years after diagnosis. Of these, 237 patients were diagnosed with Crohn's disease.

During the 10 years of follow-up, the relapse rate was 90 percent, and 37.9 percent of patients required surgery. Risk factors for subsequent surgery included terminal ileal location, penetrating behavior and diagnosis before the age of 40. At the 10-year mark, 53 percent of Crohn's disease patients developed stricturing or penetrating disease, while 44 percent were in remission at the five-year mark.

"The prognosis for Crohn's disease seems better than previously reported," the authors write. "The probability of surgery was low, and fewer than expected developed complicated disease behavior. Nevertheless, the cumulative relapse rate of 90 percent and the finding of prognostic risk factors for subsequent surgery might call for attention to early effective medical treatment strategies."

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