The Burden of Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Europe in 2020

Crohns Colitis. 2021 Sep 25;15(9):1573-1587. doi: 10.1093/ecco-jcc/jjab029.

Mirabella Zhao 1, Lóránt Gönczi 2, Peter L Lakatos 2 3, Johan Burisch 1


Author information

1Gastro Unit, Medical Division, Hvidovre University Hospital, Hvidovre, Denmark.

2First Department of Medicine, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary.

3McGill University Health Centre, Montreal General Hospital, Montreal, QC, Canada.


New data suggest that incidence and prevalence of inflammatory bowel diseases [IBD] are still increasing worldwide, and approximately 0.2% of the European population suffer from IBD at the present time. Medical therapy and disease management have evolved significantly in recent decades, with an emphasis on tight objective monitoring of disease progression and a treat-to-target approach in Europe and also worldwide, aiming to prevent early bowel damage and disability. Surgery rate declined over time in Europe, with 10-30% of CD and 5-10% of UC patients requiring a surgery within 5 years. The health economic burden associated with IBD is high in Europe. Direct health care costs [approximately €3500 in CD and €2000 in UC per patient per year] have shifted from hospitalisation and surgery towards drug-related expenditures with the increasing use of biologic therapy and other novel agents, and substantial indirect costs arise from work productivity loss [approximately €1900 per patient yearly]. The aim of this paper is to provide an updated review of the burden of IBD in Europe by discussing current data on epidemiology, disease course, risk for surgery, hospitalisation, and mortality and cancer risks, as well as the economic aspects, patient disability, and work impairment, by discussing the latest population-based studies from the region.

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