Crohn’s Disease Anastomotic Ulcerations

A recent retrospective study (RP Hirten et al. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2020; 26: 1050-1058Anastomotic Ulcers After Ileocolic Resection for Crohn’s Disease Are Common and Predict Recurrence) showed that anastomotic ulcers occur in over half of Crohn’s disease patients after ileocolic resection and are associated with Crohn’s disease recurrence and are persistent.

Key findings:

  • Anastomotic ulcers were present in 95 (52.2%) subjects. No factors were associated with anastomotic ulcer development.
  • Anastomotic ulcers were associated with disease recurrence (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] 3.64)

The associated editorial by Philllip Fleshner (pg 1059) identifies are a number of methodologic flaws, noting that less than 20% of all ileocolonic resections were included and marked variability in postoperative assessment (from 29 days to 2897 days).

My take: (borrowed from the editorial) the “findings should convince us that anastomotic ulcers do not represent ischemic changes but are rather a reflection of disease progression.”  Prospective studies with standardized surveillance would be helpful.