Urgency and Its Association With Quality of Life and Clinical Outcomes in Patients With Ulcerative Colitis : Official journal of the American College of Gastroenterology | ACG

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Urgency and Its Association With Quality of Life and Clinical Outcomes in Patients With Ulcerative Colitis

Sninsky, Jared A. MD1,2; Barnes, Edward L. MD, MPH1,2; Zhang, Xian PhD1,2; Long, Millie D. MD, MPH1,2

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The American Journal of Gastroenterology 117(5):p 769-776, May 2022. | DOI: 10.14309/ajg.0000000000001685



Urgency, the immediate need to defecate, is common in active ulcerative colitis (UC). We investigated the association of urgency in patients with UC with (i) quality of life (QoL) domains and (ii) future hospitalizations, corticosteroid use, and colectomy for UC.


We conducted a cross-sectional and subsequent longitudinal study within Inflammatory Bowel Disease Partners, a patient-powered research network. We described associations of levels of urgency in patients with UC with Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System QoL domains. We conducted a longitudinal cohort to determine associations between baseline urgency and subsequent hospitalization, corticosteroid use, or colectomy for UC within 12 months. We used bivariate statistics and logistic regression models to describe independent associations.


A total of 632 patients with UC were included in the cross-sectional study. After adjusting for clinical variables, rectal bleeding, and stool frequency, urgency defined as “hurry,” “immediately,” and “incontinence” increased the odds of social impairment (odds ratio [OR] 2.05 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.24–3.4, OR 2.76 95% CI 1.1–6.74, and OR 7.7 95% CI 1.66–38.3, respectively) compared with “no hurry.” Urgency also significantly increased the odds of depression, anxiety, and fatigue. Urgency was associated with a significant increase in risk of hospitalizations and corticosteroids, whereas “hurry,” “immediately,” and “incontinence” increased the odds of colectomy within 12 months by 1.42 (1.15–1.75), 1.90 (1.45–2.50), and 3.69 (2.35–5.80).


We demonstrated that urgency is a patient-reported outcome independently associated with compromised QoL and future risk of hospitalizations, corticosteroids, and colectomy. Our findings support the consideration of urgency as a UC-specific patient-reported outcome and its use as an outcome in clinical trials to capture QoL and risk of clinical decompensation.

© 2022 by The American College of Gastroenterology

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