Cohort study: ulcerative colitis after appendicectomy
This type of observational method can help understand cause-effect relationships
- By: Ailbhe Burke
Ulcerative colitis is an idiopathic chronic inflammatory bowel disease that affects only the colon. It is more common in people who have relatives with inflammatory bowel disease. The incidence of ulcerative colitis varies widely between populations (it is rarer in developing countries). In the West, incidence is 10-20 per 100 000 and prevalence 100-200 per 100 000, and about a quarter of a million people in the United Kingdom are affected.1
A consistent finding,23 is that the incidence of ulcerative colitis is less among people who have had an appendicectomy. The current study was undertaken to determine whether this reduced incidence relates to having had the appendicectomy or to having had appendicitis or mesenteric lymphadenitis necessitating the appendicectomy. This has important implications not only for understanding the pathogenesis of ulcerative colitis, but also for clinical practice, in terms of whether prophylactic appendicectomy would help to prevent ulcerative colitis.
The authors undertook a