Background and Aims: Crohn's disease results in substantial morbidity and high use of health services. The aim of this study was to describe the lifetime clinical course and costs of Crohn's disease in a 24-year population-based inception cohort of patients with Crohn's disease in Olmsted County, Minnesota. Methods: Disease states were defined by medical and surgical treatment. A Markov model analysis calculated time in each disease state and present value of excess lifetime costs in comparison with an age- and sex-matched cohort. Results: For a representative patient, projected lifetime costs were $39,906 per patient using median charges and $125,404 using mean charges. There were 29.1 years (63% of total) without medications. There were 12.7 years (27%) on aminosalicylate therapy, generating $11,467 (29%) in charges, and 3.2 years (7%) on corticosteroid or immunosuppressive therapy, generating $5147 (13%) in charges. Surgery generated $17,526 (44%) in charges. Conclusions: Most of the clinical course is spent in remission, either medical or surgical. Aminosalicylate therapy accounts for 29% of the costs of care. Surgery has the highest charges but the longest remissions. Treatment strategies that induce remission in mild disease and maintain remission with lower-cost maintenance therapy will have the largest effect on patient outcomes and costs.
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