The aim of the study was to describe the medical treatment, change in phenotype, need for surgery and IBD-associated mortality during the first 5 years after diagnosis.
Patients diagnosed with Crohn's disease including all age groups in the Uppsala healthcare region in the middle of Sweden 2005-2009 were included in the study. Medical notes were scrutinised and patients contacted. Out of 269 patients, 260 (96.3%) could be followed for 5 full years or until death.
The following drugs were used: 5-ASA 66.7%, systemic steroids 76.4%, antimetabolites 56.7% and anti-TNF 20.3%. Described with the Montreal classification, the proportion with inflammatory behaviour decreased from 78.1% to 74.0% from diagnosis to end of the observation, patients with stricturing behaviour increased from 13.0% to 15.4% and patients with penetrating behaviour increased from 8.9% to 10.6%. After the first year, 12.4% had been treated with intestinal resection or colectomy, a figure that increased to 14.8 after 5 years. Two patients suffered an IBD-related death.
Compared to similar patient cohorts, the present study demonstrates that although the course of Crohn's disease seems difficult to change during the first year after diagnosis, the following years up to 5 years shows a more benign course than has usually been described earlier.