Prevalence of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases in Puerto Rico: A Health Care Claims Analysis of an Insured Population

Esther A. Torres, Mariela Torres-Cintron, Stephanie Velazquez, Roberto Vendrell, Antonio del Valle, Cynthia M. Pérez


Objective: Inflammatory Bowel Disease has increased in Hispanics. This study estimates its prevalence in Puerto Rico for 2013 and compares it with prior reports. Methods: The database of commercial and government insurance claims of the Department of Health for 2013 was used. A case was defined as having at least two medical claims of outpatient services or one or more hospitalizations and emergency department visits with an ICD-9 code for Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Cases with codes for both were classified as undetermined inflammatory bowel disease. Prevalence was calculated for inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis overall and by age, sex, and health insurance. Results: 5,378 persons were classified as having inflammatory bowel disease, for an overall prevalence of 181.54/100,000. Of these, 2,154 had Crohn’s disease and 2,689 had ulcerative colitis, with prevalences of 72.71 and 90.77/100,000 respectively. Crohn’s disease was more prevalent in males and ulcerative colitis in females. Both types were more prevalent in the government insured population. 719 children had inflammatory bowel disease, for a prevalence of 89.8/100,000. Of these, 480 were classified as Crohn´s disease and 169 as ulcerative colitis. Prevalences for pediatric Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis were 60.0 and 21.2/100,000 respectively. Conclusion: When compared with a report for 2005, the prevalence for inflammatory bowel disease in Puerto Rico for 2013 showed a 4-fold increase overall and a 3-fold increase in children. Inflammatory bowel disease was more prevalent in government-insured as opposed to commercially insured persons, in contrast with previous findings.


Hispanics, pediatric, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, prevalence

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