Saudi Journal of Gastroenterology
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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 27  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 79-84

Clinical characteristics, natural history, and outcomes of Crohn's-related intra-abdominal collections

1 Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, King Khalid Hospital, King Saud University Medical City, King Saud University, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
2 Department of Medicine, King Fahad Specialist Hospital, Dammam, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
3 Department of Internal Medicine, Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology, Christian-Albrechts-University, University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein (UKSH), Campus Kiel, Kiel, Germany
4 Department of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Othman Alharbi
Department of Medicine, King Khalid University Hospital, King Saud University, Riyadh
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/sjg.SJG_89_20

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Background: Intra-abdominal collections in the form of abscesses or matted bowel loops, called phlegmons, might occur in patients with Crohn's disease (CD). The clinical characteristics and management of such conditions are not well described. We aim to characterize CD-related intra-abdominal collections clinically, and identify predictors of need for surgical interventions and the time to surgery. Methods: We utilized the Saudi Inflammatory Bowel Disease Information System (IBDIS) database to identify all patients treated for radiologically proven intra-abdominal abscesses or phlegmons since inception. Demographics, clinical data, clinical course, and treatment outcomes were recorded. Logistic regression analysis and survival analysis were used to identify predictors of surgical resection and differences in time to surgery between patient subgroups, respectively. Results: A total of 734 patients with a diagnosis of CD were screened and 75 patients were identified. The mean age was 25.6 ± 9.9 years and 51% were males. Nearly 60% of patients had abscesses larger than 3 cm while 13% had smaller abscesses and 36% had phlegmons. On presentation, the most commonly reported symptom was abdominal pain (99%) followed by weight loss (27%). About 89% of patients were treated with antibiotics during hospitalization for an average of 2.7 weeks. Steroids were prescribed for 52% of patients and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) antagonists for 17%. Surgical resection was required for 33 patients (44% of the cohort) while 51% were managed with antibiotics and/or percutaneous drainage. The most common surgical intervention was ileocecal resection (45%). Although patients who underwent follow-up imaging were more likely to require early surgical intervention (P = 0.04), no statistically significant predictor of surgery could be identified from this cohort. Time to surgery varied numerically according to abscess size (HR = 1.18, 95% CI = 0.62–2.27, P = 0.61). Conclusions: Although the majority of patients with CD-related intra-abdominal collections underwent surgical resection in this cohort, no obvious predictors of surgical intervention could be identified. The decision to perform early surgery appeared to be influenced by the findings observed on cross-sectional imaging during the follow-up of these collections.

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