Postoperative Complications in Children With Crohn Disease Treated With Infliximab

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2016 Sep;63(3):352-6. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0000000000001151.


Objectives: Infliximab (IFX) has become a mainstay of therapy for children with Crohn disease (CD). Despite medical advances, many children with CD, however, still require operative interventions. The risk of complications following resection in children treated with IFX remains largely unknown. We compare surgical outcomes stratified by IFX therapy in a cohort of children with CD who require bowel resection.

Methods: We reviewed the postoperative complications in 123 children with CD who underwent bowel resection with primary anastomosis at our institution between 1977 and 2011. Demographics, medications, types of operations, and inpatient courses were analyzed. Complications and length of stay were compared based on medical therapy.

Results: Overall, the postoperative complication rate was 13%. Of the 123 surgical cases, 24 children had received IFX before their operation. In the children treated with IFX, we identified 3 major complications, including anastomotic leak, acute renal failure, and intraabdominal abscess. There were 9 major complications in the non-IFX group, including infections (2), intraabdominal abscesses (2), bowel obstruction, shock, supraventricular tachycardia, phlegmon, and anastomotic stricture. No significant differences in complication rates or postoperative lengths of stay were identified between those who did or did not receive IFX.

Conclusions: In this cohort, surgical procedures in children and young adults treated with IFX were not associated with an increased number of complications or prolonged length of stay. Given that postoperative complications are infrequent in children, larger multicenter studies may be required to determine whether IFX therapy increases the risk of surgical complications in pediatric CD.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Crohn Disease / drug therapy*
  • Crohn Disease / surgery*
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Ileum / surgery*
  • Infliximab / therapeutic use*
  • Laparoscopy
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult


  • Gastrointestinal Agents
  • Infliximab

Supplementary concepts

  • Pediatric Crohn's disease