The intention of the first ileocolic resection in Crohn’s disease is to remove local disease, which relieves symptoms of intestinal obstruction, but should also relieve clinically significant systemic inflammation and allow discontinuation of corticosteroids.
By means of five clinically relevant criteria for continued specific treatment, we evaluated the response of 117 patients to their first ileocolic resection for Crohn’s disease, which was undertaken at Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden, between 2000 and 2010. The five criteria were the persistence of systemic inflammation and continued or resumed corticosteroid therapy, high defecation frequency or presence of a stoma, and the need for new bowel surgery within 1 year. The presence of systemic inflammation and use of anti-inflammatory drugs were assessed 1 month preoperatively and 6–12 months after surgery. Other events of interest were assessed within 12 months.
The median age was 31 years and 51 patients (44 %) were women. In all, 54 patients (46 %) were operated on within the first year of diagnosis and episodes of bowel obstruction were the prime surgical indication in 80 (68 %) patients. Of the patients, 100 (85 %) had an ileocolic resection and 17 (15 %) had terminal ileal surgery. As anticipated, C‑reactive protein (CRP), albumin, and hemoglobin concentrations all normalized significantly after surgery but 15 (13 %) patients still had CRP values of ≥ 30 mg/l and one fourth (29/117, 25 %) still used corticosteroids. Seventeen patients (15 %) had six or more defecations per day or a temporary stoma and four (3 %) patients had new surgery for symptomatic Crohn’s disease. Altogether, 46 (39 %) patients met one or more of the criteria for continued or renewed treatment within 1 year with a higher risk in patients with ileocolic disease as compared with ileal disease when adjusted for age and reoperation (p = 0.030).
The curable intention of the first ileocolic resection for Crohn’s disease often fails, as the need for continued or renewed medical or surgical treatment in the first year is high.