JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Efficacy and safety of endoscopic balloon dilation of symptomatic upper and lower gastrointestinal Crohn's disease strictures.

GOALS: To evaluate efficacy and safety of endoscopic balloon dilation with or without intralesional steroid injection, of symptomatic upper gastrointestinal (UGI) and lower gastrointestinal (LGI) Crohn's disease (CD) strictures.

BACKGROUND: Patients with CD commonly develop obstructive symptoms secondary to gastrointestinal strictures. When these do not resolve with medical management, surgery is usually the only alternative. Limited data are available on the safety and efficacy of endoscopic through-the-scope (TTS) balloon dilation of CD strictures.

STUDY: We performed a retrospective review of TTS balloon dilations done on CD-related UGI and LGI strictures. Postdilation intralesional steroid injections were done at the discretion of the endoscopist. Stricture was defined as luminal stenosis <10 mm in diameter, through which a scope could not be passed. Technical success was defined as the ability of the scope to traverse the stricture postdilation. Long-term success rate was claimed if a patient remained asymptomatic and did not require surgery or further endoscopic dilation.

RESULTS: Over 4 years, we performed 29 stricture dilations on 17 patients (10 female, 7 male) with 20 strictures. The mean follow-up period was 18.8 months (range, 5-50 months). Stricture locations were as follows: rectal, 5; sigmoid colon, 2; colo-colonic anastomosis, 3; ileocolonic anastomosis, 4; ileum, 1; descending colon, 1; cecum, 1; and distal duodenal bulb, 3 patients. Technical success was achieved in 28 of 29 stricture dilations (96.5%). Ten strictures (34.5%) were dilated to <15 mm and 19 (65.5%) to > or = 15 mm diameter. Long-term success rate in the <15 mm group was 70%, and in > or = 15 mm group was 68.4%. Four quadrant steroid injections were done on 11 strictures. The recurrence rate in this group was 10% and that in the nonsteroid group was 31.3%. The overall long-term success rate was 76.5% by intent-to-treat analysis. Three perforations occurred (all colonic) during 29 stricture dilations, a complication rate of 10% with no mortalities.

CONCLUSION: We report the first series of TTS balloon dilations with or without intralesional steroid injection, of both primary and anastomotic UGI and LGI strictures in CD patients. Long-term success was achieved in 76.5% patients with a complication rate of 10%. This mode of therapy appears safe and effective and can be considered as an alternative to surgery in selected patients with medically refractory CD-associated GI strictures. Success rates were better in patients who received four quadrant steroid injections. No difference was seen in stricture recurrence rate or complications based on diameter of TTS balloon used.

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