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Clinical features and natural history of ulcerative colitis in Korea

Park, Sang Hyoung MD1†; Kim, Young Min MD1†; Yang, Suk-Kyun MD1*; Kim, Sai-Hui MD1; Byeon, Jeong-Sik MD1; Myung, Seung-Jae MD1; Cho, Yun Kyung RN1; Yu, Chang-Sik MD2; Choi, Kwi-Sook MD1; Chung, Jun-Won MD1; Kim, Benjamin MD1; Choi, Kee Don MD1; Kim, Jin-Ho MD1

doi: 10.1002/ibd.20015
Original Clinical Articles: Clinical Features and Natural History of UC in Korea: Original Article

Background The clinical characteristics of ulcerative colitis (UC) in Asian populations have not been well characterized. We therefore investigated the clinical features and natural history of UC in Korea.

Methods We retrospectively analyzed 304 Korean patients with UC first diagnosed at the Asan Medical Center between June 1989 and August 2005.

Results The male-to-female ratio of the patients was 0.94:1, and their median age at diagnosis was 40.0 years (range, 12-72 years). At diagnosis, proctitis was noted in 134 patients (44.1%), left-sided colitis in 69 patients (22.7%), and extensive colitis in 101 patients (33.2%). Disease activity at diagnosis was mild in 149 patients (49.0%), moderate in 125 patients (41.1%), and severe in 26 patients (8.6%). In addition, 4 asymptomatic patients (1.3%) were detected as a result of a screening colonoscopy. Clinical remission after the first attack was documented in 97.4% of patients. The cumulative relapse rate after 1, 5, and 10 years was 30.2%, 72.0%, and 88.4%, respectively. The cumulative risk of proximal extension in patients with proctitis or left-sided colitis was 33.0% after 5 years and 44.5% after 10 years. The cumulative probability of colectomy was 2.0% after 1 year, 2.8% after 3 years, and 3.3% after 5 to 15 years. The cumulative survival rate after 1, 5, and 10 years was 100%, 99.4%, and 97.4%, respectively.

Conclusions The clinical features of Korean UC patients at diagnosis are similar to those of Westerners. However, UC in Koreans may have a milder course than in Westerners, as indicated by the lower rate of colectomy among Koreans.

(Inflamm Bowel Dis 2007)

1Department of Internal Medicine, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Asan Medical Center, Seoul, Korea

2Department of Surgery, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Asan Medical Center, Seoul, Korea

*Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Asan Medical Center, 388-1 Pungnap-dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul 138-736, Korea


Received for publication 4 April 2006; Accepted 12 September 2006

Published online 19 December 2006 in Wiley InterScience (

Sang Hyoung Park and Young Min Kim contributed equally to this article.

© Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America, Inc.
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