Objective: To study the long-term outcomes of patients who have had endoscopic balloon dilation of Crohn's strictures.
Design: Retrospective case-note review over a 16-year period.
Patients: Patients with a Crohn's stricture causing obstructive symptoms and who had at least 6 months' follow-up data or a surgical outcome following dilation were sought; 59 patients (124 dilations) were identified.
Intervention: Patients all underwent endoscopic balloon dilation.
Results: Strictures were anastomotic in 53 patients (111 dilations) and de novo in six patients (13 dilations). The median stricture length was 3.0 cm. Median follow-up time was 29.4 months. Out of the total group, 41% of patients achieved long-term clinical benefit following dilation and in 17% after only a single dilation. The median number of dilations per patient was one. A total of 35 (59%) patients required surgery for their stricture during follow-up. There were two (1.6%) perforations as a result of dilation, one in an anastomotic stricture (managed conservatively) and one in a de-novo stricture (requiring surgery). There were no deaths.
Conclusions: Colonoscopic balloon dilation of Crohn's strictures can achieve long-term clinical benefit in many patients. Repeat dilations are justified in initial non-responders. In this series, the procedure appears safe with low morbidity.