Systematic Review and Meta-analysis: Phenotype and Clinical Outcomes of Older-onset Inflammatory Bowel Disease

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Little is known of the clinical outcome of patients with older-onset inflammatory bowel disease [IBD]. We performed a systematic review to determine phenotype and outcomes of older-onset IBD compared with younger-onset subjects.


A systematic search of Embase and Medline up to June 2015 identified studies investigating phenotype and outcomes of older-onset [diagnosed at age ≥ 50 years] Crohn’s disease [CD] and ulcerative colitis [UC] subjects. Pooled analyses of disease phenotype, medication use, and disease-related surgery were calculated.


We analysed findings from 43 studies comprising 8274 older-onset and 34641 younger-onset IBD subjects. Compared with younger-onset patients, older-onset CD patients were more likely to have colonic disease (odds ratio [OR] 2.56, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.88 – 3.48) and inflammatory behaviour [OR 1.19, 95% CI 1.07 – 1.33], and less likely to have penetrating disease or perianal involvement. More older-onset UC patients had left-sided colitis [OR 1.49, 95% CI 1.18 – 1.88]. Although fewer older-onset IBD patients received immunomodulators [CD: OR 0.44; UC: OR 0.60] or biologicals [CD: OR 0.34; UC: OR 0.41], older-onset CD was similar in the need for surgery [OR 0.70, 95% CI 0.40 – 1.22] whereas more older-onset UC patients underwent surgery [OR 1.36, 95% CI 1.18 – 1.57].


Elderly IBD patients present with less complicated disease, but have similar or higher rates of surgery than non-elderly patients. Whether this reflects a non-benign disease course, physicians’ reluctance to employ immunomodulators, or both, merits further study which is essential for improving the care of IBD in the elderly.

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