Activated granulocytes, monocytes, and platelets appear to be closely involved in active Crohn's disease (CD). Adsorptive granulocyte apheresis (GCAP) is a new treatment for inflammatory bowel disease. GCAP was used to treat a 23-year-old female patient with CD resistant to both infliximab (IFX) and azathioprine (AZA). At 16 years of age, the patient underwent a partial ileal resection for peritonitis caused by perforative ileitis. On pathological examination of the resected specimen, the diagnosis was CD. Mesalazine was started, but the patient did not comply with therapy. She was admitted to our hospital again in 2007 due to an acute exacerbation. IFX induction therapy was started. The combination of both AZA daily and IFX every 8 weeks was continued as maintenance therapy. However, she developed severe abdominal pain in September 2009. Computed tomography revealed ileitis and ascending colitis, and blood tests showed high inflammatory response marker levels. She was considered to have IFX- and AZA-resistant CD. Initial intravenous steroid therapy did not result in any improvement. Therefore, weekly GCAP therapy was given for 5 weeks, which immediately improved the inflammatory response markers. GCAP combined with prednisolone could be effective for IFX- and AZA-refractory CD.
Keywords: Adsorptive granulocyte apheresis; Azathioprine; Crohn's disease; Infliximab; Prednisolone.