Background: Numerous factors influence healthcare resource utilization (HRU) in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). We previously demonstrated an association between the presence of certain IBD-related symptoms and HRU. We conducted a longitudinal study to identify the clinical variables and IBD-related symptoms predictive of HRU. Methods: This investigation utilized clinical encounters at an IBD center within a tertiary care referral center between 10/29/2015–12/31/2019. Participants were assessed over two time points (index and follow-up office visits) separated by a minimum of 6 months. Demographics, endoscopic disease severity, totals and sub-scores of surveys assessing for IBD-related symptoms, HRU, and substance use, and IBD-related medications. HRU was defined as any IBD-related emergency room visit, hospitalization, or surgery during the 6 months prior to follow-up appointment. We identified patients exhibiting HRU (at follow-up) and computed descriptive statistics and contingency table analyses of index appointment clinical data to identify predictors of HRU. Multivariable logistic regression models were fit incorporating significant demographic and clinical factors. Results: 162 consecutively enrolled IBD patients (mean age 44.0 years; 99f:63 m; 115 Crohn’s disease [CD], 45 ulcerative colitis [UC], 2 indeterminate colitis) were included. 121 patients (74.7%) exhibited HRU (mean age 43.6 years; 73f:48 m; 84 CD, 36 UC, 1 IC) preceding follow-up appointment. Abdominal pain (OR = 2.18, 95% CI 1.04–4.35, p = 0.04) at the index appointment was the only study variable significantly associated with HRU on bivariate analysis (Table 1). However, none of the clinical factors evaluated in this study were independently associated with HRU in our multivariable logistic regression model. Conclusions: In this longitudinal study, abdominal pain was the only clinical variable that demonstrated an association with future HRU (even when considering other symptoms and key variables such as disease activity, IBD-medications, and psychiatric comorbidities (i.e., anxious or depressed state). These findings reinforce the importance of regularly screening for and effectively treating abdominal pain in IBD.
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