BACKGROUND - Perianal fistulas are a debilitating manifestation of Crohn's disease (CD) in the pediatric population and present a management challenge. The aims of this study were to describe our experience using endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) to guide management of perianal CD (PCD) in a pediatric population, and determine whether using EUS to monitor healing after seton placement improves outcomes.
METHODS - We conducted a retrospective study of 2 cohorts: pediatric subjects with PCD who underwent EUS and pediatric subjects who underwent seton placement between 2002 and 2007.
RESULTS - In all, 25 children underwent a total of 42 EUS procedures. Of 28 EUSs performed to evaluate suspected perianal disease, complex fistulizing disease was identified in 15 (54%). Setons were placed after most EUSs demonstrating complex fistulizing disease and after none demonstrating superficial or no fistulizing disease. Of 14 EUSs performed to monitor healing around a seton, 7 (50%) demonstrated persistent peri-seton inflammation. Setons were more often left in place after an EUS revealing persistent inflammation (86% versus 0%), and the patients were more likely to have a biologic initiated or changed (57% versus 0%). Among all subjects who underwent seton placement, time from seton removal to recurrence was longer for those followed by EUS compared to those followed by physical exam only; however, we were not powered to test for statistical significance.
CONCLUSIONS - EUS to guide the combined medical and surgical management of PCD is feasible in the pediatric population. Larger prospective studies are needed to determine if EUS-directed management improves outcomes in pediatric patients with PCD.