Introduction: Knowing the natural history of ulcerative colitis (UC) is essential to understand the course of the disease, assess the impact of different treatment strategies and identify poor prognostic factors. One of the most significant matters in this regard is the need for surgery.
Objectives: To analyse the Colectomy Incidence Rate (CIR) from diagnosis to end of follow-up (31/12/2017) and identify predictive factors for colectomy.
Material and methods: A retrospective study enrolling patients with a definitive diagnosis (DD) of UC or Unclassified Colitis (UnC) in the 2001-03 Navarra cohort.
Results: We enrolled 174 patients with a DD of UC (E2 42.8%; E3 26.6%) and 5 patients with a DD of UnC: 44.1% women, median age 39.2 years (range 7-88) and median follow-up 15.7 years. A total of 8 patients underwent surgery (CIR 3 colectomies/103 patient-years: 3 at initial diagnosis (<1 month), 2 in the first 2 years, 2 at 5 years from diagnosis and 1 at 12 years from diagnosis. All had previously received steroids; 5 had received immunomodulators and 2 had received biologics. In 7 patients (87%), surgery was performed on an emergency basis. The indication was megacolon in 3 (37.5%), severe flare-up in 3 (37.5%) and medical treatment failure in 2 (25%). In 5 cases (62.5%), an ileoanal pouch was made, and in 3 cases, a definitive ileostomy was performed. In the univariate analysis, patients with loss of more than 5 kg at diagnosis and admission at diagnosis had a lower rate of colectomy-free survival.
Conclusions: In our series, colectomy rates are lower than usually reported. Most colectomies were performed in the first 5 years following diagnosis and had an emergency indication.