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Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2002 Sep;8(5):311-6.

Azathioprine or 6-mercaptopurine before colectomy for ulcerative colitis is not associated with increased postoperative complications.

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  • 1Division of Gastroenterology, University of California, San Francisco, USA.



To determine whether the use of azathioprine/6-mercaptopurine before colectomy is associated with an increased rate of postoperative complications.


All patients who underwent colectomy with ileal pouch-anal anastomosis for ulcerative colitis between 1997 and 1999 were identified. Medical records were abstracted for demographics, extent and duration of disease, dose and duration of corticosteroids and azathioprine/6-mercaptopurine, albumin, and Truelove/Witts score. Early (30-day) and late (6-month) complications were identified. Noncorticosteroid immunosuppressive use was coded as none, azathioprine/6-mercaptopurine within 1 week of surgery, or therapy with other immunosuppressive agents within 1 month of surgery. A logistic regression analysis assessed the association between these variables and complications.


Early complications occurred in 49 of 151 (32%) patients not treated with immunosuppressive agents, 12 of 46 (26%) azathioprine/6-mercaptopurine-treated patients, and 4 of 12 (33%) patients treated with other immunosuppressive agents (p = 0.71). Late complications occurred in 72 of 148 (49%), 20 of 46 (43%), and 8 of 12 (67%) patients in these same groups, respectively. Intravenous or oral steroids at doses of 40 mg/d or greater (p < 0.01) and severe or fulminant disease (p = 0.0094) were associated with greater early complication rates.


Early complications after restorative proctocolectomy for ulcerative colitis are associated with high dose steroids and severe disease but not use of azathioprine/6-mercaptopurine.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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