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J Clin Gastroenterol. 1998 Jan;26(1):27-9.

Crohn's disease in the Singapore Chinese population.

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterology, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore.


Crohn's disease (CD) is rare in the Chinese population, but lately there seems to be an increasing trend of CD in the Singapore Chinese population. We carried out a retrospective study of all Chinese patients with CD seen from 1987 to 1993 at the Singapore General Hospital. All patients were regularly followed up and treated. Disease activity was defined by the Organisation Mondiale de Gastroenterologie index. We also compared our series with our first series reported in 1987 and a Western series. There were 32 patients (20 men, 12 women) giving a hospital prevalence of 26.7 per 100,000 patients compared with 3.5 per 100,000 patients in 1986. The mean age was 37.1 years (range, 19-80 years). Twelve patients had small intestinal disease, 9 had colonic disease, and 11 had both. The common presenting symptoms were bloody diarrhea (67%), abdominal pain (53%), loss of weight (47%), and fever (34%). Extraintestinal manifestations were rare. Six patients had no relapse during the follow-up period, whereas the remaining 26 patients had an average of two relapses (range, 1-5). These relapses were complicated by fistulas in 8 patients and strictures in 11 patients. Response to steroids and sulfasalazine was good in most patients. Four patients required repeated surgery despite medical treatment. The prevalence of CD appears to be increasing among the Singapore Chinese population. The clinical features are similar to those of the Western population. Most of our patients responded to standard medical therapy, but further follow-up is needed to assess their long-term clinical outcome.

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