Fifty five (26%) of two hundred and fifteen patients presenting with Crohn's disease in the Blackpool area over a 15 year period (1969-1983) were over 60 years of age. There were twice as many women as men (38:17). In 60% disease was limited to the large bowel compared to only 29% in the younger age group. Many of these were women with mild distal colitis. Twenty one patients required operative management. In general, the prognosis was good in colonic disease, but in small bowel and ileocolonic disease the necessity for early operative intervention was potentially fatal. Delayed diagnosis, poor nutritional state and associated disease were relevant adverse factors. The majority of patients at the time of review were well and, where necessary, were coping satisfactorily with a stoma.
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