Objective: Inflammatory bowel disease has been reported to have varying frequencies in different parts of the world, and there seem to be significant differences in the disease pattern and clinical course in cases of ulcerative colitis (UC). The aim of the present study was to assess the incidence and disease pattern of UC in Oman. Method: A prospective study, over a period of 8 years (1987-1994), was performed to study 108 patients found to have UC. Results: The annual incidence of UC was 1.35/100,000. The disease was mainly seen in the middle and upper middle class group, and the majority were nonsmokers or exsmokers. There was no significant difference in the incidence of the disease between nationalities or sexes. Total colitis was seen in 18%, and a significant number had disease extending up to the splenic flexure. Proctitis was seen in 8%. Although, the extent of the disease was similar to reports from the West, these patients had fewer hospital admissions, blood transfusions and none of them suffered local complications such as toxic dilatation, perforation or severe bleeding. Sclerosing cholangitis occurred in 2 patients. Patients were followed up for a maximum period of up to 7 years after diagnosis and none developed dysplasia or cancer. Three patients had surgery mainly for failure of medical treatment. Conclusions: From this report it seems that UC occurs in Oman at a lower frequency compared to the West. Although, the extent of the disease was similar to Europeans, these patients had less severe disease with fewer complications.

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