Diagnostic delay in patients with inflammatory bowel disease in Austria
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Delayed diagnosis seems to be common in inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). The study was carried out to investigate the diagnostic delay and associated risk factors in Austrian IBD patients.
In a multicenter cross-sectional study adult patients with IBD attending 18 Austrian outpatient clinics completed a multi-item questionnaire that recorded medical and socioeconomic characteristics. The study outcome was diagnostic delay defined as the period from symptom onset to diagnosis of IBD.
A total of 1286 patients (Crohn’s disease 830, ulcerative colitis 435, inflammatory bowel disease unclassified 21; females 651) with a median age of 40 years (interquartile range 31–52 years) and a median disease duration of 10 years (4–18 years) were analyzed. The median diagnostic delay was 6 months (2–23 months) in Crohn’s disease and 3 months (1–10 months) in ulcerative colitis (p < 0.001). In the multivariable regression analysis Crohn’s disease, greater age at diagnosis and a high educational level (compared to middle degree level) were independently associated with longer diagnostic delay.
The diagnostic delay was longer in Crohn’s disease than in ulcerative colitis patients and was associated with greater age at diagnosis and a higher educational level.
KeywordsCrohn’s disease Ulcerative colitis Age at diagnosis Educational level Surgery
Inflammatory bowel disease
Inflammatory bowel disease information system
Inflammatory bowel disease unclassified
The authors wish to thank the European Federation of Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis Association (EFCCA) and Prof. Di Sabatino for placing additional data from their publications at their disposal, which are given in Tables 4 and 5. The manuscript was linguistically reviewed by David Westacott.
Compliance with ethical guidelines
Conflict of interest
G. Novacek, H.P. Gröchenig, T. Haas, H. Wenzl, P. Steiner, R. Koch, T. Feichtenschlager, G. Eckhardt, A. Mayer, A. Kirchgatterer, O. Ludwiczek, R. Platzer, P. Papay, J. Gartner, H. Fuchssteiner, W. Miehsler, P.-G. Peters, G. Reicht, H. Vogelsang, C. Dejaco, and T. Waldhör declare that they have no competing interests.
Ethics approval and consent to participate: The study was approved by all responsible local ethics committees (Ethics Committee of the Medical University of Vienna: EC No. 1450/2014; 1‑JUL-2014) and was performed in accordance with the ethical standards as laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The patients were informed about the study both verbally and in writing. A written informed consent was not applicable since the questionnaire was anonymous.
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