Medical and Surgical Complications of Inflammatory Bowel Disease in the Elderly: A Systematic Review

Dennis L. Shung, Bincy P. Abraham, Joseph Sellin, Jason K. Hou

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background/Aims: The complications of therapy, hospitalization, and surgery related to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in the elderly are not well described. While multiple reviews have described the management and complications of elderly patients with IBD, none have been performed in a systematic fashion. Methods: We performed a systematic review using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines to evaluate the association between elderly patients with IBD and complications from therapy, hospitalizations, and surgery. Eligible studies were identified via structured keyword searches in PubMed and manual literature searches. Results: A total of 5,644 publications were identified. Of these, fourteen studies met inclusion criteria, encompassing 963 elderly IBD patients (113 Crohn’s disease and 850 ulcerative colitis patients), over 37,000 hospitalizations of elderly IBD patients and over 4,500 controls. Consistent associations were observed between increased age and higher nocturnal stool frequency post-ileal pouch anal anastomosis. Only two studies met inclusion criteria for medication-related complications, one observed an increased mortality and infection risk among elderly patients treated with tumor necrosis factor antagonists and the other observed increased hospital-related complications among elderly patients treated with steroids. Conclusions: Elderly patients with IBD are at an increased risk of hospital- and therapy-related complications. We found a paucity of high-quality studies evaluating outcomes in elderly patients with IBD. Further studies of elderly patients with IBD are needed to further evaluate the effect of age on medical and surgical complications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1132-1140
Number of pages9
JournalDigestive Diseases and Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2015


  • Complications
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Elderly
  • Postoperative complications
  • Ulcerative colitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Gastroenterology


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