The aim of this study was to characterize the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in a Swedish population of patients with ulcerative colitis.
A total of 211 patients with ulcerative colitis were studied. Demographic and disease-related factors were noted. HRQOL was measured by one disease specific questionnaire, the Rating Form of IBD Patient Concerns (RFIPC) and one generic, The Sickness Impact Profile (SIP). Additional questions regarding information needs, medication, and well-being were asked. Disease activity was measured by symptom cards, laboratory samples, endoscopy, and two indices of disease activity. The influence of additional concomitant disease was also evaluated.
Functional impairment as measured by the SIP was primarily in psychological and social areas and to a lesser extent in the physical areas. The highest scores for individual items of the RFIPC were those related to potential complications, e.g., needing an ostomy appliance, needing surgery, developing cancer, losing bowel control, and uncertainty about the disease and effects of medication. Patients with active disease scored higher on both SIP and RFIPC when compared to patients in remission. Presence of coexisting disease weighted heavily on HRQOL.
Ulcerative colitis has a negative influence on the subjective functional status and seems to cause many worries and concerns. Patients in relapse had greater concerns, more impairment of functional status, and a reduced subjective sense of well-being than patients in clinical remission. Nevertheless, the patients in this Swedish study scored a much better HRQOL than has previously been reported using these questionnaires in patients with ulcerative colitis from the US, France, and Austria.
1Department of Health and Environment, Division of Gastroenterology, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
*Department of Gastroenterology and Endocrinology, University Hospital, S-581 85 Linköping, Sweden