Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic relapsing and remitting disease with high morbidity, substantial healthcare costs, and increasing incidence. Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms that impacts quality of life and is a leading concern for patients with IBD. The aim of this study was to determine the global prevalence, risk factors, and impact of fatigue in adults with IBD.
A systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted. Data were retrieved from Medline, Embase, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), and PsycINFO from database inception to October 2019. A pooled prevalence of fatigue was calculated using a random effects model. Stratified meta-analyses explored sources of between-study heterogeneity. Study quality was assessed using an adapted checklist from Downs and Black.
The search yielded 4,524 studies, of which 20 studies were included in the systematic review and meta-analysis. Overall, the studies were of good quality. The pooled prevalence of fatigue was 47% (95% CI: 41%-54%) though between-study heterogeneity was high (I =98%). Fatigue prevalence varied significantly by the definition of fatigue (chronic: 28%; high: 48%, p<0.01) and disease status (active disease: 72%; remission 47%, p<0.01). Sleep disturbance, anxiety, depression, and anemia were the most commonly reported fatigue-related risk factors.
The prevalence of fatigue in adults with IBD is high, emphasizing the importance of additional efforts to manage fatigue to improve the care and quality of life for patients with IBD.

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