Elective Colectomy Improves Survival in Ulcerative Colitis

Elective colectomy procedures significantly improve survival rates compared to existing medical therapy in ulcerative colitis (UC) patients aged 50 or older.

Elective colectomy procedures significantly improve survival rates compared to existing medical therapy in ulcerative colitis (UC) patients aged 50 or older.

In a recent study published in Annals for Internal Medicine, Meenakshi Bewtra, MD, PhD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine and epidemiology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and colleagues assessed outcomes in advanced UC patients who underwent elective colectomies.

The researchers collected Medicare and Medicaid data from 2000-2011 for a total of 830 patients who pursued elective colectomies and 7,541 matched patients pursuing medical therapies. Bewtra reported that the rates of mortality linked to elective surgery and medical therapy were 34 and 54 deaths per 1,000 years, respectively.

The researchers noted that elective colectomy vastly improved survival in advanced UC patients.

Bewtra remarked, “Ulcerative colitis is a chronic disease that most physicians opt to treat with medications, as opposed to surgery. This new flinding highlights a potential unrecognized advantage of a surgical approach to the disease.”

“With this new knowledge, physicians should be empowered to begin a dialogue about surgery earlier in their patients’ course of treatment. Many patients are afraid of surgical therapy for UC. This study should help them to understand that the beenfits of surgery may extend beyond just reducing the symptoms of uncontrolled UC,” concluded Bewtra.