Enteral nutrition for the maintenance of remission in Crohn's disease: a systematic review

Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2010 Jan;22(1):1-8. doi: 10.1097/MEG.0b013e32832c788c.


Objective: This review study was designed to evaluate the efficacy of enteral nutrition (EN) for the maintenance of remission in patients with Crohn's disease (CD) who achieved medically or surgically induced remission.

Methods: The Medline, Embase, Ovid, and Cochrane database search of literature was carried out to identify studies that reported the efficacy of EN for the maintenance of remission in CD. The main outcome measure was the occurrence of clinical or endoscopic relapse.

Results: Ten studies were included: one randomized controlled trial, three prospective non-randomized trials, and six retrospective studies. Elemental, semielemental or polymeric diets were used as an oral supplement or a nocturnal tube feeding in addition to ordinary foods. Comparing outcomes between patients who received EN and those who did not, the clinical remission rate was significantly higher in those with EN in all seven studies. In two studies, EN showed suppressive effects on endoscopic disease activity. In all four studies investigating impacts of the quantity of enteral formula on clinical remission, higher amounts of enteral formula were associated with higher remission rates: > or =30 kcal/kg ideal body weight/day (vs. <30 kcal/kg ideal body weight/day), > or =1200 kcal/day (vs. <1200 kcal/day), and > or =1600 kcal/day (vs. <1600 kcal/day). Quantitative pooling of studies was not feasible because of the diversity of interventions and outcome measures among the studies.

Conclusion: Although the evidence level is not high, the available data suggest that EN may be useful for maintaining remission in patients with CD. Large randomized controlled trials are necessary to assess a definite efficacy of EN for the maintenance of remission.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Crohn Disease / immunology
  • Crohn Disease / therapy*
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis
  • Enteral Nutrition / methods*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / methods
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / immunology
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Remission Induction
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Cytokines