Navigate Up
UPMC/University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
For Journalists
Manager
Telephone: 412-647-9966
Director
Telephone: 412-586-9777
Other Inquiries

Transplant Effective in Treating Those With Severe Crohn’s Disease, UPMC Study Shows

PITTSBURGH, Dec. 17, 2012 – Patients suffering from severe Crohn’s disease who were no longer able to tolerate intravenous feedings were able to return to a normal oral diet and saw no clinical recurrences of the disease after undergoing intestinal or multivisceral transplants, according to a study of cases performed at UPMC over more than 20 years.
 
The study is the largest of its kind examining the efficacy of transplant in patients with end-stage Crohn’s disease. It was presented at the 2012 Advances in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, the clinical and research conference of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, in Hollywood, Fla., on Dec. 15.
 
“Intestinal transplantation was developed here at UPMC, and, as international leaders in this specialized surgery, we have a wealth of data that other centers don’t,” said Guilherme Costa, M.D., interim director, UPMC Intestinal Rehabilitation and Transplantation Center, who presented the study. “What that data show us is that intestinal and multivisceral transplant works to save the lives of those patients suffering from the most severe symptoms of Crohn’s disease.”
 
Crohn’s is a chronic bowel disease that can cause inflammation, ulcers and bleeding in the digestive tract. Patients suffering from a severe form of the disease often have irreversible intestinal failure and sometimes need to receive nutrition through a tube inserted into a vein, known as total perenteral nutrition (TPN). Patients unable to tolerate TPN are often referred for an intestinal transplant.
 
In the study, UPMC researchers looked at 309 adult patients who received intestinal and multivisceral transplants between 1990 and June 2012.  Of these, 57 had Crohn’s disease with irreversible intestinal failure, and all had failed TPN therapy with multiple line infections. Twenty-one percent, or 12, of these patients also required a liver transplant because they suffered from end-stage liver failure; 43 had just an intestinal transplant; and two patients had a modified multivisceral graft that included the stomach, duodenum, pancreas and intestine.
 
The study found the patient survival rate was 90 percent at one year, 74 percent at three years, 56 percent at five years, and 43 percent at 10 years. Inclusion of the donor liver was associated with better long-term survival outcome with a 10-year survival rate of 57 percent. All survivors achieved full nutritional autonomy, enjoying an unrestricted oral diet after transplant.
 
“The success we’ve seen in our patients is an indicator that transplant offers real hope to Crohn’s patients who have been debilitated by this disease,” Dr. Costa said.

©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

© UPMC
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com