JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Health-related quality of life in patients with long-standing ulcerative colitis in remission.

Introduction: Ulcerative colitis (UC) contributes to impaired health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Although disease activity is the most important factor, reduced HRQoL has been reported even in quiescent UC. We aimed to determine HRQoL, and identify predictors thereof, in patients with long-standing UC in remission.

Methods: In total, 66 patients with inactive UC were included 10 years after the disease onset. Clinical assessment including rigid sigmoidoscopy was performed to ensure remission. Data on demographic, clinical, treatment-related, and psychological determinants of HRQoL were obtained with a structured interview and self-assessment questionnaires measuring gastrointestinal (GI) and psychological symptoms and fatigue. HRQoL was measured with the Short Form Health Survey (SF-36).

Results: The SF-36 domains were comparable to the general Swedish population, except for Vitality, where UC patients scored lower. Gender, smoking, comorbidity, or disease phenotype had no impact on HRQoL. In contrast, corticosteroid use and sick leave during the previous year were independently associated with Physical Functioning and Bodily Pain domains of SF-36; persisting GI symptoms during remission with Bodily Pain; and fatigue with Role Physical, General Health and Vitality. For all other SF-36 domains reflecting mental HRQoL (Social Function, Role Emotional, Mental Health), only psychological distress contributed uniquely.

Conclusions: Although overall HRQoL in long-standing UC in remission is comparable to the general population, previous disease activity as well as persisting GI symptoms, fatigue, and psychological distress are associated with a lower HRQoL among these patients. Improved HRQoL may allow for better UC patient health and reduced costs for health care.

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