New medical therapeutic options challenge the usual surgical management of Crohn's disease patients with intestinal perforation.
Objectives: To determine factors predictive of surgery for perforation in Crohn's disease and define a group of patients that may benefit from non-surgical treatment.
Methods: One hundred and sixty-two patients (69 males, 93 females, mean age 39) with perforated Crohn's disease (fistula, abscess, inflammatory mass) between January 1995 and September 2003 were studied retrospectively.
Results: One hundred and fifty-one patients (93%) underwent surgery: 70 had planned surgery and 81 had surgery for symptomatic deterioration. At two years, the cumulative probability of intestinal resection was 0.89 +/- 0.03, and the cumulative probability of unplanned intestinal resection was 0.72 +/- 0.05. Predictive factors of unplanned surgery were elevated platelet count (adjusted hazard ratio 3.15; 95% CI 2.21-4.50) and absence of fistula (adjusted hazard ratio 3.14; 95% CI 2.48-3.99). The rate of postoperative complications, the need for a stoma, and the length of bowel resection were not significantly different whether the surgery was planned or not.
Conclusion: A significant proportion of patients with intestinal perforation complicating Crohn's disease, particularly those with a fistula, might benefit from non-surgical treatment.