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Clin Nutr. 1983 Apr;2(1):61-4.

Has total bowel rest a beneficial effect in the treatment of Crohn's disease?

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  • 1First Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, and First Department of Internal Medicine, University of Vienna, School of Medicine, Vienna, Austria.


Twenty patients with Crohn's disease were treated with parenteral nutrition (PN). The indication for PN was a bodyweight of less than 80% ideal bodyweight and/or a Crohn's disease activity index (CDAI) above 150 despite conventional therapy. A complete nutrition solution containing per litre 150 g glucose, 50 g sorbitol, 50 g amino acids, 50 g fat, electrolytes, trace elements and vitamins was infused via a central venous catheter to provide 72 kcal per kg bodyweight and day. No other medications were given during the study. The patients were randomized into two groups: both groups received PN in identical fashion. Group 1 was not allowed to eat or drink to reach total bowel rest; Group 2 ate formula diets and low residue diet ad libidum in addition to PN. Criteria for the nutritional status were bodyweight, serum albumin, prealbumin and hemoglobin and for disease activity the CDAI. Mean duration of treatment was 28 days in group 1 and 33.5 days in group 2. At the beginning both groups were comparable with respect to disease activity, nutritional status and extent of Crohn's disease. At the end of the study nutritional status was improved (increase of bodyweight and prealbumin) and disease activity was decreased by therapy in both groups with no significant difference between the two regimens. We conclude that PN improves the nutritional status and reduces the activity of Crohn's disease. The combination of PN and total bowel rest resulted in the same improvement as with PN alone. Total bowel rest is therefore unnecessary, when PN is given in patients with Crohn's disease.

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