, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 401-404

Preoperative infliximab treatment in patients with ulcerative and indeterminate colitis does not increase rate of conversion to emergent and multistep abdominal surgery

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A recent study has raised concerns that infliximab treatment, by postpoing surgery for ulcerative and indeterminate colitis patients, may result in a greater need for high-risk emergent or multistep surgical procedures (subtotal colectomies). Our aim was to assess whether infliximab exposure affects rates of subotal colectomy in a large cohort of patients.


We evaluated 171 consecutive patients with ulcerative or indeterminate colitis who had a total proctocolectomy or a subtotal colectomy between 1993 and 2006 for symptoms of unremitting disease. Forty-four patients (25.7%) received infliximab prior to surgery. We compared the surgical procedures employed on these 44 patients to the surgical procedures employed on the 127 non-infliximab patients, using Fisher’s exact or Student’s t test.


Infliximab exposure did not appear to affect the rate of emergent surgery (4.5% vs 4.4%, p = 0.98), rate of subtotal colectomy (19.2% vs. 18.0%, p = 0.99), or rate of ileoanal J pouch reconstruction (53.8% vs. 62%, p = 0.98). Nor did it affect intraoperative findings of perforation, toxic megacolon, and active disease. The infliximab and non-infliximab cohorts were similar in age, Charlson Comorbidity Index, concomitant steroid use, and albumin levels, although infliximab patients had higher rates of concomitant exposure to 6-mercaptopurine (34.1% vs 16.6%, p = 0.02) and azathioprine (40.9% vs 22.6%, p = 0.02).


Infliximab does not appear to increase rates of emergent surgery or multistep procedures in patients undergoing treatment for ulcerative or indeterminative colitis at our institution.

Podium presentation at the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgery Tripartite Meeting, June 2008, Boston
Podium presentation at the European Society of Coloproctology Meeting, October 2008, Nantes