Aim: To assess prospectively small bowel stenoses in Crohn's disease (CD) patients treated with infliximab using Small Intestine Contrast Ultrasonography (SICUS).
Methods: Twenty patients (M 12, age, 42.7 +/- 11.8 years), 15 of whom showed obstructive symptoms indicating the presence of small bowel stenosis, and 5 without stenosis, were treated with infliximab (5 mg/kg at wk 0, 2, 6 and 5 mg/kg every 8 wk thereafter) for steroid refractoriness, fistulizing disease, or to avoid high-risk surgery. SICUS was performed at the induction phase and at regular time intervals during the follow-up period of 34.7 +/- 16.1 mo (range 7-58). Small bowel stenoses were detected by SICUS, endoscopy and MRI.
Results: In no case was progression of stenoses or the appearance of new ones seen. Of the 15 patients with stenosis, 5 stopped treatment after the induction phase (2 for no response, 3 for drug intolerance, one of whom showed complete regression of one stenosis). Among the remaining 10 patients, a complete regression of 8 stenoses (1 stenosis in 5 patients and 3 stenoses in one patient) was observed after 6-22 infliximab infusions.
Conclusion: In patients with CD treated with infliximab we observed: (a) No progression of small bowel stenosis and no appearance of new ones, (b) Complete regression of 1/22 stenosis after the induction phase and of 8/15 (53.3%) stenosis after 6-22 infusions during maintenance therapy.