Background: Ulcerative colitis (UC) is generally described as a superficial diffuse inflammation restricted to the colon and rectum. However, several case reports have described a distinct and rare type of UC-related pan-enteritis, typically occurring after colectomy. Corticosteroids are effective for induction of remission of this condition, but it is not clear how these patients should be managed long term.
Goals: To further describe and define the entity of UC-related pan-enteritis and to investigate the efficacy of azathioprine for maintenance of remission.
Results: We describe 5 patients with superficial diffuse ulcerative inflammation of the stomach, small bowel, and pouch if present. Four of the 5 patients developed enteritis after colectomy for ulcerative pancolitis. Pathology showed severe mucosal inflammation with infiltration of neutrophils and plasma cells from the stomach to the ileum. Video capsule endoscopy in 1 patient confirmed the presence of mucosal inflammation throughout the small bowel. All patients were started on a standardized treatment with intravenous corticosteroids for induction of remission and azathioprine for maintenance therapy. The conditions of all the patients rapidly improved, and subsequently, 4 patients were in full remission on azathioprine monotherapy, despite failure of this UC therapy before surgery, whereas 1 patient continues to have a steroid-dependent disease.
Conclusions: The outcomes of 5 cases of UC-related pan-enteritis as described in this report support a role for azathioprine in remission maintenance. Future research is needed to improve our understanding of this rare but distinct intestinal inflammatory disorder.