Background: A limited body of research suggests that ongoing maintenance enteral nutrition (MEN) can be beneficial in maintaining disease remission in Crohn's Disease (CD). We aimed to assess how achievable MEN is and whether it helps to prolong remission.
Methods: Patients newly diagnosed with CD in 2010 and 2011 who commenced exclusive enteral nutrition (EEN) for 8 weeks were followed up for a year post diagnosis. All patients who took EEN were encouraged to continue MEN post EEN. Data on azathioprine use was also collected. Categorical variables were compared using chi-square/Fischer's exact test. Medians were expressed along with complete data ranges.
Results: 59 patients (34 male, median age 11.07 years, range 2.5-16.33 years) were identified. 11/59 (18%) had a poor response to EEN and were switched to steroids. 48/59 patients completed 8 weeks EEN and achieved clinical remission/response. 46/48 patients received Modulen IBD®, 29/48 (60%) consumed EEN orally and 19/48 (40%) via NGT. 15/48 (31%) patients were able to continue MEN post EEN completion. MEN was consumed for a mean of 10.8 months (range 4-14 months). 14/15 patients drank MEN and 1/15 had MEN via NGT. Remission rates at 1 year in patients continuing MEN were 60% (9/15) compared to 15% (2/13) in patients taking no treatment (p = 0.001) and 65% (13/20) in patients taking azathioprine (p = 0.14).
Conclusion: A sub group of patients can continue MEN as a maintenance treatment and this seems a useful strategy, especially in those who are not commencing azathioprine.