Efficacy of exclusive enteral nutrition in complicated Crohn's disease

Scand J Gastroenterol. 2017 Sep;52(9):995-1001. doi: 10.1080/00365521.2017.1335770. Epub 2017 Jun 9.


Aim: To investigate the efficacy of exclusive enteral nutrition (EEN) in induction of remission in adult active Crohn's disease (CD) complicated with intestinal fistula/abdominal abscess or inflammatory intestinal stricture.

Method: Patients diagnosed with active CD with complications were recruited between July 2013 and July 2015. Patients were offered EEN for 12 weeks. Patients with abscess received antibiotic treatment with or without percutaneous drainage. Clinical variables were recorded (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02887287).

Results: Forty-one patients with CD and with intestinal fistula/abdominal abscess or inflammatory intestinal stricture aged 18-60 years, were included. Ten patients were accompanied with stenosis and 33 with intestinal fistula/abscess. After 12 weeks of EEN, the Crohn's disease activity index significantly decreased (223.43 ± 65.5 vs. 106.77 ± 42.73, p ≤ .001), and 80.5% of patients achieved full clinical remission totally. Fistula closure after EEN was observed in 75% of patients with entero-cutaneous fistula. In patients with stenosis, 20% had no response to EEN and were transferred for surgery. Partial remission and full remission were observed in 20% and 60% of patients after 12 weeks of EEN, respectively. Intra-abdominal abscess resolved in 76% of patients. Seventeen patients who had mucosal ulcers underwent colonoscopy before and after EEN, 47% achieved mucosal healing after the treatment. The inflammatory index of patients significantly decreased (p ≤ .01), nutritional parameters increased (p ≤ .01) and the European Nutritional Risk Screening (2002) decreased (p ≤ .01).

Conclusion: EEN is effective in inducing early clinical remission, mucosal healing, promoting fistula closure and reducing the size of abscess in adult CD patients with complications.

Keywords: Crohn’s Disease; complications; efficacy; exclusive enteral nutrition.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Abscess / diagnostic imaging
  • Abdominal Abscess / therapy*
  • Adult
  • China
  • Crohn Disease / complications
  • Crohn Disease / therapy*
  • Enteral Nutrition / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Fistula / therapy*
  • Intestinal Obstruction / therapy*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Remission Induction
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02887287