Silent Anal Fistulas –Sounds Bad, Is It?

A recent prospective study (PH Kim et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2020; 18: 415-23) with 440 consecutive adults (mean age 29.6 years) with Crohn’s disease (CD) identified asymptomatic anal fistulas with MRE (including anal MRI) studies. 36 patients were newly diagnosed and the remainder had established CD.

Key findings:

  • In all of these patients, none of whom had clinical fistulas, an MRE identified “perianal tracts” in 53 (12%).
  • 37 of 290 (12.8%) of patients without a perianal fistula history and 16 of 150 (10.7%) with a history of healed perianal fistula had perianal tracts identified on MRE
  • No patients had any lesions that required treatment after examination by a surgeon
  • MRE detection of asymptomatic tracts was independently associated with later need for perianal treatment: 17.8% cumulative incidence at 37 months (aHR 3.06)

My take: Abnormal perianal tracts on MRE in asymptomatic patients indicate an increased risk of developing clinically-significant perianal disease –though most do not.

More on COVID19:

  • No children with IBD have been reported thus far from ESPGHAN which includes a 100 sites (mainly Europe) (as of March 10th); to report cases: ESPGHAN COVID19 Case Report Page
  • There is some discussion that biologic therapy for IBD may have some protective effects

 

 

ADMIRE Study: Use of Stem Cell Therapy for Complex Perianal Fistulas in Crohn’s Disease

A recent phase 3 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study (J Panes et al. Gastroenterol 2018; 154: 1334-42) examined the use of stem cell therapy for the treatment of complex perianal fistulas in Crohn’s disease (CD).

They used a single local injection of 120 million Cx601, a suspension of allogeneic expanded adipose-derived stem cells, and compared to a placebo injection.  This study comprised 212 patients from 49 centers. The primary endpoint, labelled “combined remission,” was based on absence of draining fistulas and MRI findings.

Key Findings:

  • As noted in Figure 1 (below), combined remission occurred in 51.5% of Cx601-Rx patients compared with 35.6% for placebo at week 24; at week 52, combined remission occurred in 56.3% of Cx601-Rx patients compared with 38.6%

My take: This local therapy improved outcomes for 1 year after a single injection and appears promising for refractory perianal fistulas.  It may help avoid surgery or systemic immunosuppression.

 

Closer Look at Data Then Image Below