BACKGROUND: Anaemia represents a common complication of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Most studies on anaemia in IBD patients have been performed in tertiary referral centres (RC) and data from gastroenterologic practices (GP) are lacking. We investigated the frequency and severity of anaemia in IBD patients from tertiary referral centres and gastroenterologic practices compared to the general population.
METHODS: Data were acquired from patients included in the Swiss IBD Cohort Study. IBD activity was evaluated by CDAI and modified Truelove and Witts severity index (MTWSI). Anaemia was defined as haemoglobin ≤120g/L in women and ≤130g/L in men.
RESULTS: 125 patients from RC (66 with Crohn's disease (CD) and 59 with ulcerative colitis (UC)) and 116 patients from GP (71 CD and 45 UC) were included and compared to 6074 blood donors. Anaemia was found in 21.2% (51/241) of the IBD patients and more frequently in patients from RC as compared to GP and healthy controls (28.8% vs. 12.9% vs. 3.4%; P<0.01). IBD patients from RC suffered more frequently from active disease compared to IBD patients in GP (36% vs. 23%, P=0.032). Supplementation therapy (iron, vitamin B12, folic acid) was performed in 40% of anaemic IBD patients in GP as compared to 43% in RC.
CONCLUSIONS: Anaemia is a common complication in patients with IBD and significantly more prevalent in patients from referral centres as compared to patients from gastroenterologic practices. Physicians treating IBD patients should pay attention to the presence of anaemia and ensure sufficient supplementation therapy.