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Despite reports of decreasing hospitalizations and mortality due to peptic ulcer, it is unclear whether the incidence has truly declined over time.
To investigate time trends in the incidence of and in hospital admission rates for peptic ulcer in the Netherlands.
The nationwide registry of pathology reports (PALGA) and the national registry of hospital admissions (Landelijke Medische Registratie) were used. Standardized morbidity ratios were calculated to assess the magnitude of the changes.
The age-adjusted incidence of gastric ulcer halved for both men (standardized morbidity ratio 0.48; CI 0.46–0.49) and women (standardized morbidity ratio 0.49; CI 0.47–0.51). Although the number of gastric biopsies obtained at endoscopy increased, the proportion with a diagnosis of peptic ulcer decreased by more than 50% (standardized morbidity ratio 0.47; CI 0.46–0.49). The admission rate for peptic ulcer more than halved between 1980 and 2003. In contrast, admission rates for complicated ulcers barely changed and slightly increased among women.
The incidence of histopathologically confirmed gastric ulcer halved between 1992 and 2003 in the Netherlands. As the number of gastric biopsies increased in this period, a true decrease is likely. Hospital admissions for peptic ulcer declined dramatically between 1980 and 2003, but remained unchanged or slightly increased for complicated ulcers.