IMAJ | volume
Journal 3, Mars 2003
Background: Free bowel perforation is one of the indications for emergency surgery in Crohn’s disease. It is generally accepted that 1–3% of patients with Crohn’s disease will present with a free perforation initially or eventually in their disease course.
Objective: To evaluate the incidence and treatment results of free perforation in patients with Crohn’s disease and based on our experience to suggest recommendations.
Methods: Between 1987 and 1996, 160 patients with Crohn's disease were treated in our department and were followed for a mean period of 5 years.
Results: Of the 83 patients (52%) requiring surgical intervention, 13 (15.6%) were operated due to free perforation. The mean age of the perforated CD was 33 ± 12 years and the mean duration of symptoms to surgery was 6 years. The location of the free perforation was the terminal ileum in 10 patients, the mid-ileum in 2 patients, and the left colon in 1 patient. Surgical treatment included 10 ileocecectomies, 2 segmental resections of small bowel, and resection of left colon with transverse colostomy and mucus fistula in one patient. There was no operative mortality. Postoperative hospital stay was 21 ± 12 days (range 8–55 days). All patients were followed for 10–120 months (mean 58.0 ± 36.7). Six patients (42%) required a second operation during the follow-up period.
Conclusion: The incidence of free perforation in Crohn’s disease in our experience was 15.6%. We raise the question whether surgery should be offered earlier to Crohn’s disease patients in order to lower the incidence of free perforation