Meta-analysis: mortality in Crohn’s disease


Dr C. Canavan, Digestive Diseases Centre, University Hospitals of Leicester, Leicester General Hospital, Gwendolen Road, Leicester, LE5 4PW.


Aim To perform a meta-analysis is of published literature reporting standardized mortality ratios (SMR) for Crohn’s patients from 1970 to date.

Methods Medline search identified relevant papers. Exploding references identified additional papers. When two papers reviewed mortality of one patient group at different times, the later publication was used.

Results Of 13 papers identified, three studies reported SMR below 1.0, two others had confidence intervals including 1.0. All other studies reported mortality higher than the general population. Meta-analysis using a random effects model shows the pooled estimate for SMR in Crohn’s disease is 1.52 (95% CI: 1.32 to 1.74 [P < 0.0001]). Meta-regression shows the SMR for these patients has decreased slightly over the past 30 years, but this decrease is not statistically significant (P = 0.08).

Conclusion Assessing evidence from original studies and conducting a meta-analysis shows age-adjusted mortality risk from Crohn’s disease is over 50% greater than the general population. Whilst mortality has improved since the condition was first recognized, further evaluation of the patients studied in the cohorts included here is necessary to assess more recent changes in clinical practice.