Course of enterovesical fistulas in Crohn's disease

Adrian J. Greenstein, David B. Sachar, Andreas Tzakis, Linda Sher, Tomas Heimann, Arthur H. Aufses

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Enterovesical fistulas occurred in 38 of 683 patients (5.6 percent) with Crohn's disease admitted to The Mount Sinai Hospital between 1960 and 1977. There were 22 ileovesical fistulas, 8 colovesical fistulas, and 8 fistulas of combined ileal and colonic origin. These cases fell into three different pathophysiplogic categories: 16 patients presented with sepsis after a mean duration of 7 years of Crohn's disease, 19 presented without sepsis after a mean of 10 years of disease, and 3 elderly cancer patients presented with an average 25 years disease duration. Sepsis was usually due to deep pelvic or lower quadrant abscess with spontaneous rupture into the bladder. Nonseptic fistulization was a later, more gradual process, reflecting slow penetration into the bladder from a site of chronic cicatrizing bowel disease. Cancer was a very late complication, arising in each patient from an excluded loop. Although medical treatment was successful in delaying surgery in 6 patients and obviated surgery altogether in 2 patients, 36 of 38 patients (95 percent) eventually required operation. Postoperative mortality in this series was limited to two patients (5 percent) with preoperative intraabdominal abscess and sepsis. Five other deaths, unrelated to urinary complications, were caused by intestinal cancer in three patients and by intestinal complications of recurrent Crohn's disease in two patients. The urologic course of patients with enterovesical fistula was completely benign. All operated patients were cured of their enterovesical fistulas, and no urologic sequelae developed. Subsequent reoperations that were required in 45 percent of these patients were all for recurrent bowel disease and not for fistula or other urologic problems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)788-792
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1984


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