High altitude journeys and flights are associated with the increased risk of flares in IBD patients


Serval ID
Inproceedings: an article in a conference proceedings.
Publication sub-type
Poster: Summary – with images – on one page of the results of a researche project. The summaries of the poster must be entered in "Abstract" and not "Poster".
High altitude journeys and flights are associated with the increased risk of flares in IBD patients
Title of the conference
80. Jahresversammlung der Schweizerischen Gesellschaft für Allgemeine Innere Medizin
Vavricka S., Maetzler S., Misselwitz B., Rogler G., Safroneeva E., Schoepfer A.
Basel, Schweiz, 23.-25. Mai 2012
Publication state
Issued date
Swiss Medical Forum = Forum Médical Suisse
Background: There is increasing evidence that hypoxia induces
inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. The clinical impact of hypoxia
in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is so far poorly
Aim: We wanted to evaluate if flights and journeys to regions >= 2000
meter above sea level are associated with the occurrence of flares in
IBD patients in the following 4 weeks.
Methods: A questionnaire was completed by inpatients and outpatients
of the IBD clinics of three tertiary referral centers presenting with an IBD
flare. Patients were inquired about their habits in the 4 weeks prior to
the flare. Patients with flares were matched with an IBD group in
remission during the observation period (according to age, gender,
smoking habits, and medication).
Results: A total of 103 IBD patients were included (43 Crohn's disease
(CD), whereof 65% female, 60 ulcerative colitis, whereof 47% female,
mean age 39.3 ± 14.6 years for CD and 43.1 ± 14.2 years for UC).
Fifty-two patients with flares were matched to 51 patients without flare.
Overall, IBD-patients with flares had significantly more frequently a flight
and/or journey to regions >= 2000 meters above sea level in the
observation period compared to the patients in remission (21/52
(40.4%) vs. 8/51 (15.7%), p = 0.005). There was a statistically significant
correlation between the occurrence of a flare and a flight and/or journey
to regions >= 2000 meters above sea level among CD patients with
flares as compared to CD patients in remission (8/21 (38.1%) vs. 2/22
(9.1%), p = 0.024). A trend for more frequent flights and high-altitude
journeys was observed in UC patients with flares (13/31 (41.9%) vs.
6/29 (20.7%), p = 0.077). Mean flight duration was 5.8 ± 4.3 hours. The
groups were controlled for the following factors (always flare group cited
first): age (39.6 ± 13.4 vs. 43.5 ± 14.6, p = 0.102), smoking (16/52 vs.
10/51, p = 0.120), regular sports activities (32/52 vs. 33/51, p = 0.739),
treatment with antibiotics in the 4 weeks before flare (8/52 vs. 7/51,
p = 0.811), NSAID intake (12/52 vs. 7/51, p = 0.221), frequency of
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (both groups 0) and oxygen
therapy (both groups 0).
Conclusion: IBD patients with a flare had significantly more frequent
flights and/or high-altitude journeys within four weeks prior to the IBD
flare compared to the group that was in remission. We conclude that
flights and stays in high altitude are a risk factor for IBD flares.
Create date
14/02/2013 17:11
Last modification date
20/08/2019 12:40
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