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Long-term outcome of endoscopic dilatation in patients with Crohn's disease is not affected by disease activity or medical therapy
  1. G Van Assche2,
  2. C Thienpont2,
  3. A D'Hoore1,
  4. S Vermeire2,
  5. I Demedts2,
  6. R Bisschops2,
  7. G Coremans2,
  8. P Rutgeerts2
  1. 1Division of Abdominal Surgery, University Hospital Gasthuisberg, Leuven, Belgium
  2. 2Division of Gastroenterology, University Hospital Gasthuisberg, Leuven, Belgium
  1. Correspondence to Dr G Van Assche, Division of Gastroenterology. University Hospital Gasthuisberg, 49 Herestraat, 3000-Leuven, Belgium; gert.vanassche{at}


Background Endoscopic dilatation of Crohn's disease-related strictures is an alternative to surgical resection in selected patients. The influence of disease activity and concomitant medical therapy on long-term outcomes is largely unknown.

Aim and methods To study the long-term safety and efficacy of stricture dilatation in a single centre cohort.

Results Between 1995 and 2006, 237 dilatations where performed in 138 patients (mean age 50.6±13.4, 56% female) for a clinically obstructive stricture (<5 cm, 84% anastomotic). Immediate success of a first dilatation was 97% with a 5% serious complication rate. After a median follow-up of 5.8 years (IQR 3.0–8.4), recurrent obstructive symptoms led to a new dilatation in 46% or surgery in 24%. Niether elevated levels of C-reactive protein nor endoscopic disease activity predicted the need for new intervention. None of the concomitant therapies influenced the outcome.

Conclusion This largest series ever reported confirms that long term efficacy of endoscopic dilatation of Crohn's disease outweighs the complication risk. Neither active disease at the time of dilatation nor medical therapy afterwards predict recurrent dilatation or surgery.

  • Crohn's disease
  • endoscopic dilatation
  • complications
  • medical therapy
  • colonoscopy
  • inflammatory bowel disease

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the University of Leuven Hospitals.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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