Aliment Pharmacol Ther31, 486–492


Background  Infliximab was approved for use in ulcerative colitis in recent years. It has been debated if infliximab increases the risk of post-operative complications in patients with ulcerative colitis.

Aim  To perform a meta-analysis that examines the relationship between preoperative infliximab treatment and short-term post-operative complications in patients with ulcerative colitis.

Methods  We searched the PubMed and MEDLINE databases to identify observational studies on the impact of pre-operative infliximab use on short-term post-operative complications in ulcerative colitis. Infectious complications mainly included wound infection, sepsis and abscess, whereas non-infectious complications included intestinal obstruction, thromboembolism and gastrointestinal haemorrhage. Pooled odds ratios (ORs) were calculated for each relationship.

Results  A total of 5 studies and 706 patients were included in our meta-analysis. Overall, we did not find a strong association between pre-operative treatment of infliximab and short-term infectious [OR 2.24, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.63–7.95] or non-infectious (OR 0.85, 95% CI 0.50–1.45) post-operative complications in ulcerative colitis patients. On the contrary, we discovered that pre-operative infliximab use increased short-term total post-operative complications (OR 1.80, 95% CI 1.12–2.87).

Conclusions  Pre-operative infliximab use increased the risk of short-term post-operative complications. Subgroup analysis is underpowered to assess the nature of these complications but shows a trend towards increased post-operative infection.