Is Intestinal Diversion an Effective Treatment for Distal Crohn's Disease?

Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2021 Jun 2;izab126. doi: 10.1093/ibd/izab126. Online ahead of print

Amy L Lightner 1, Hassan Buhulaigah 2, Karen Zaghiyan 2, Stefan D Holubar 1, Scott R Steele 1, Xue Jia 3, John McMichael 1, Prashansha Vaidya 1, Phillip R Fleshner 2


Author information

  • 1Department of Colorectal Surgery, Digestive Disease Surgical Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland Ohio, USA.
  • 2Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California, USA.
  • 3Department of Qualitative Health Science, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.


Background: Fecal diversion with an ileostomy is selectively used in cases of medically refractory Crohn's proctocolitis or advanced perianal disease. The aim of this study was to evaluate clinical improvement after fecal diversion in Crohn's disease (CD) and factors associated with clinical improvement.

Methods: A retrospective chart review of adult CD patients undergoing ileostomy formation for distal disease between 2000 and 2019 at 2 CD referral centers was conducted. The primary outcome was the rate of clinical improvement with diversion that allowed for successful restoration of intestinal continuity. Secondary outcomes included the rate of clinical and endoscopic improvement after fecal diversion, ileostomy morbidity, need for subsequent total proctocolectomy and end ileostomy, and factors associated with a clinical response to fecal diversion.

Results: A total of 132 patients with a median age of 36 years (interquartile range, 25-49) were included. Mean duration of disease was 16.2 years (10.4) years. Indication for surgery was medically refractory proctocolitis with perianal disease (n = 59; 45%), perianal disease alone (n = 24; 18%), colitis (n = 37; 28%), proctitis (n = 4; 3%), proctocolitis alone (n = 4; 3%), and ileitis with perianal disease (n = 4; 3%). Medications used before surgery included corticosteroids (n = 59; 45%), immunomodulators (n = 55; 42%) and biologics (n = 82; 62%). The clinical and endoscopic response to diversion was 43.2% (n = 57) and 23.9% (n = 16). At a median follow-up of 35.3 months (interquartile range, 10.6-74.5), 25 patients (19%) had improved and had ileostomy reversal, but 86 (65%) did not improve, with 50 (38%) undergoing total proctocolectomy for persistent symptoms. There were no significant predictors of clinical improvement.

Conclusions: The use of a "temporary" ileostomy is largely ineffective in achieving clinical response.



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