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P676 Influence of alexithymia on the clinical course of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

R. Ferreiro*, M. Barreiro-de Acosta, A. Lorenzo, J.E. Dominguez-Munoz

University Hospital Santiago de Compostela, Gastroenterology, Santiago, Spain


Alexithymia is a personality trait characterized by difficulty to perceive and express emotions. Previous studies have reported a high prevalence of alexithymia in IBD patients, but its influence on the clinical course of the disease is unknown. The aim of this study was to assess the influence of alexithymia on the clinical course of IBD patients.


A prospective observational cohort study was designed. Crohn's disease (CD) and Ulcerative Colitis (UC) patients older than 18 years of age were included. Alexithymia was evaluated using the Toronto scale (TAS-26). This scale is a self-report instrument consisting of 26 items with a response format of a five-point scale (range 26 to 130). Alexithymia was defined as a total score of > 73 points. In order to assess the clinical course of IBD, all unscheduled or emergency visits and hospitalisations related with IBD were recorded over a 18-month follow-up time. The influence of alexithymia on clinical course was analysed by logistic regression analysis.


470 patients were included; 219 (46.6%) male, mean age 44 years, range 18 to 85 years, 60.8% with UC and 39.2% with CD. The overall prevalence of alexithymia was 67.4%. Mean emergency or unscheduled visits was 1.08 (SD 1.50, range 0-14) and mean hospitalizations of 0.38 (SD 1.04, range 0-9). Higher alexithymia scores at baseline were not associated with more emergency visits (B=0.06; 95%CI 0.93-1.21; p=0.364) nor more hospitalizations (B=-0.02; 95% CI 0.82-1.18;p=0.838).


Alexithymia is highly prevalent in IBD patients but it has no influence on the number of emergency visits and hospitalizations.