, Volume 14, Issue 12, pp 1859-1866
Date: 25 Sep 2010

Perioperative Anti-Tumor Necrosis Factor Therapy Does Not Increase the Rate of Early Postoperative Complications in Crohn’s Disease

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There have been numerous studies with conflicting results regarding the use of anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) therapy and its relationship to postoperative outcome in Crohn disease. The aim of our study was to examine the rate of postoperative morbidity in patients receiving anti TNF therapy in the perioperative period.


All patients undergoing surgery for Crohn disease from 2005 till 2008 were abstracted from a prospective database. Patients undergoing surgery which included a suture or staple line at risk for leaking were selected for the study. A retrospective review of medical records was performed. The study group comprised patients treated with perioperative anti TNF therapy (defined as treatment within 8 weeks preoperatively or up to 30 days postoperatively). The remainder of the patients did not receive perioperative anti TNF therapy. Patient characteristics, disease severity, medication use, operative intervention and 30-day complication were compared between the two groups.


Three hundred and seventy patients were selected for analysis in this study, of which 119 received perioperative anti TNF therapy and 251 did not. The groups were similar in baseline characteristics, perioperative risk factors and procedures. The group who received perioperative anti TNF therapy had a more severe disease overall as measured by the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) categories of disease (50% severe fulminant disease in the perioperative anti-TNF therapy group versus 18% in the group that did not receive perioperative anti-TNF therapy, p < 0.001). There was no significant association of perioperative anti TNF therapy and any postoperative complications (27.9% in anti-TNF group versus 30.1% in no anti-TNF group, p = 0.63) nor intra-abdominal infectious complications (5.0% in anti-TNF group versus 7.2% in no anti-TNF group, p = 0.44). Univariate analysis showed that the only factors associated with an increase in postoperative intra-abdominal infections were age and penetrating disease.


The use of anti-TNF therapy in the perioperative period is safe and is not associated with an increase in overall or infectious complications in Crohn disease patients undergoing surgery.

Presented at SSAT annual meeting at Digestive Disease Week (DDW), 1–5 May 2010