Prevalence of Inflammatory Bowel Disease in the Canton of Vaud (Switzerland): A population-based cohort study*

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Background and aims: Because of the changing epidemiology of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD), we set out to characterize the population-based prevalence of Crohn's Disease (CD) and Ulcerative Colitis (UC) in a defined population of Switzerland.

Methods: Adult IBD patients were identified by a cross-matched review of histological, hospital and gastroenterologist files throughout a geographical defined population (Canton of Vaud). Demographic factors statistically significantly associated with prevalence were evaluated using a stepwise Poisson regression analysis. Results were compared to IBD prevalence rates in other population-based studies and time trends were performed, based on a systematic literature review.

Results: Age and sex-adjusted prevalence rates were 205.7 IBD (100.7 CD and 105.0 UC) cases per 105 inhabitants. Among 1016 IBD patients (519 CD and 497 UC), females outnumbered males in CD (p < 0.001), but males were more represented in elderly UC patients (p = 0.008). Thus, being a male was statistically associated with UC (Relative Risk (RR) 1.25; p = 0.013), whereas being a female was associated with CD (RR 1.27; p = 0.007). Living in an urban zone was associated with both CD and UC (RR 1.49; p < 0.001, 1.63; p < 0.001, respectively). From 1960 to 2005, increases in UC and CD prevalences of 2.4% (95%CI, 2.1%–2.8%; p < 0.001) and 3.6% (95%CI, 3.1%–4.1%; p < 0.001) per annum were found in industrialised countries.

Conclusions: Extrapolating our data to all of Switzerland yields an estimate of 12,000 IBD cases for the country, or 1 in 500 inhabitants. Our study gives support to an increase in IBD prevalence in Europe.

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