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Saudi J Gastroenterol. 2005 Sep;11(3):157-63.

Crohn's disease among Saudis in Al-Gassim region.

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Department of Medicine, King Fahad Specialist Hospital, Buraidah, Saudi Arabia.



Crohn's disease is being increasingly reported from Saudi Arabia and information about its pattern is still accumulating.


To describe and classify the disease and assess the response to therapy in patients referred to a tertiary care centre in Gassim region, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).


Fifteen Saudi patients found to have Crohn's disease over an eight-year period were studied. The presenting symptoms, area of involvement and the response to therapy were assessed.


There were five males and ten females. The age of 14 patients was less than 40 years. Symptoms had existed for more than one year before diagnosis in 14 patients. Common symptoms were diarrhea, pain during defecation, blood in stool and weight loss. The ileum was involved in three patients, the colon in four and the involvement was ileocolonic in eight patients. The behavior of the disease was non-stricturing nonpenetrating in eight, stricturing in two, penetrating in one and stricturing as well as penetrating in four patients. Three patients presented as acute appendicitis, four as intestinal obstruction and five with perianal disease. Histological diagnosis was possible in 12 patients. Thrombocytosis was present in seven patients and three had episodes of deep vein thrombosis. Eight patients responded to medical therapy. Surgical intervention was necessary in seven patients and three had multiple operations. One patient died during a median follow-up period of 18 months (range: 6 months to 8 years).


Crohn's disease occurs more commonly in young Saudi females. Patients are symptomatic for almost a year prior to diagnosis. The presentation is variable and response to therapy is satisfactory. Surgery is necessary in a high number of patients.

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