Objective To identify predictors of early symptomatic recurrence of Crohn's disease (CD) after surgical resection.
Method We studied a cohort of 128 patients who had undergone at least one intestinal resection for CD. Factors that might predict early recurrence were documented for analysis using a standardized pro forma. These comprised age, gender, family history, extra-intestinal manifestations, smoking, complicated disease at first presentation, site of disease, preoperative inflammatory markers, involvement of resection margins, orientation and method of anastomosis and postoperative medical therapy. All symptomatic recurrences were confirmed by endoscopic, radiological, or operative means. We defined early recurrence as that which occurred within 36 months of first surgery. Univariate analysis was conducted to compare the distribution of each factor in those who developed early recurrence (n = 48) and those who remained disease free for the first 36 months (n = 50).
Results Of the 128 patients studied, 98 fulfilled the inclusion criteria of at least 36 months of follow up. Of these patients, 48 (49%) patients developed recurrence. Trends towards fewer early recurrences were seen in patients with colonic disease (33%vs 56%, P = 0.068). Of the current smokers, 60% developed early recurrence compared with 43% of nonsmokers (P = 0.269). All other factors examined were similarly distributed between the two groups. Metronidazole as adjuvant treatment does not appear to protect against early symptomatic recurrence.
Conclusion This study shows that early symptomatic postoperative recurrence of CD remains unpredictable. Against expectation, abstinence from smoking and postoperative adjuvant metronidazole did not appear to protect against early symptomatic recurrence.