Perianal fistulizing Crohn’s disease: Current perspectives on diagnosis, monitoring and management with a focus on emerging therapies

Jalpa Devi, David H. Ballard, Tina Aswani-Omprakash, Alyssa M. Parian, Parakkal Deepak

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Crohn’s disease (CD), a chronic inflammatory bowel disorder, manifests in various phenotypes, with fistulizing perianal CD (CD-PAF) being one of its most severe phenotypes. Characterized by fistula formation and abscesses, CD-PAF impacts 17% to 34% of all CD cases and with a significantly deleterious impact on patient’s quality of life, while increasing the risk for anorectal cancers. The pathogenesis involves a complex interplay of genetic, immunological and environmental factors, with cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) and transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) playing pivotal roles. Diagnostic protocols require a multi-disciplinary approach including colonoscopy, examination under anesthesia and magnetic resonance imaging. In terms of treatment, biologics alone often prove inadequate, making surgical interventions such as setons and fistula surgeries essential. Emerging therapies such as mesenchymal stem cells are under study. The South Asian context adds layers of complexity, including diagnostic ambiguities related to high tuberculosis prevalence, healthcare access limitations and cultural stigma toward perianal Crohn’s disease and ostomy surgery. Effective management necessitates an integrated, multi-disciplinary approach, especially in resource-constrained settings. Despite advances, there remain significant gaps in understanding the disease’s pathophysiology and a dearth of standardized outcome measures, underscoring the urgent need for comprehensive research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-63
Number of pages16
JournalIndian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume43
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2024

Keywords

  • Crohn’s disease
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Perianal fistula
  • Treatment outcome
  • Tumor necrosis factor inhibitors

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