Mucosal healing in Crohn's disease: A systematic review



The traditional goals of Crohn's disease therapy, to induce and maintain clinical remission, have not clearly changed its natural history. In contrast, emerging evidence suggests that achieving and maintaining mucosal healing may alter the natural history of Crohn's disease, as it has been associated with more sustained clinical remission and reduced rates of hospitalization and surgical resection. Induction and maintenance of mucosal healing should therefore be a goal toward which therapy is now directed. Unresolved issues pertain to the benefit of achieving mucosal healing at different stages of the disease, the relationship between mucosal healing and transmural inflammation, the intensity of treatment needed to achieve mucosal healing when it has not been obtained using standard therapy, and the means by which mucosal healing is defined using current endoscopic disease activity indices. The main clinical challenge relates to defining the means of achieving high rates of mucosal healing in clinical practice. (Inflamm Bowel Dis 2012;)