It is unclear whether colectomy restores the ability of patients with ulcerative colitis to work to precolectomy levels.
Dr Martin Neovius from Sweden estimated the burden of sick leave and disability pension in a population-based cohort of patients with ulcerative colitis, and the effects of colectomy.
The team performed a register-based cohort study using the Swedish National Patient Register, and identified working-age patients with ulcerative colitis in 2005, and patients who underwent colectomies between 1998 and 2002.
Sick leave and disability pension data were retrieved from Statistics Sweden.
The research team noted that data from each patient in the study were compared with those from 5 age-, sex-, education-, and county-matched individuals from the general population.
In 2005, 15% of patients with prevalent ulcerative colitis received a disability pension, compared with 11% of the general population, and 21% vs 13% had 1 sick leave episode.
|12% did not work at all 3 years after colectomy|
The doctors assessed that the annual median work days lost was 0 in both groups, but patients with ulcerative colitis had higher mean and 75th percentile work days lost.
Among patients who underwent colectomies, annual days lost increased from a mean of 40 days 3 years before surgery to 141 days during the year of surgery.
The researchers examined that the number then decreased to a mean of 85 days 3 years after surgery.
The corresponding 75th percentile days were 17, 207, and 130, respectively.
The doctors reported that 3 years after colectomy, 12% did not work at all compared with 7% of the general population, and compared with 6% about 3 years before colectomy.
Dr Neovius and colleagues commented, "Patients with ulcerative colitis miss more work days than the general population in Sweden."
"Although most patients had no registered work loss 3 years after colectomy, work loss was not restored to presurgery or general population levels in the group that underwent colectomy during several years of follow-up."