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Infliximab for Crohn’s Disease Patients with Perianal Fistulas: Better Image, Better Life

Liwen Hong, Chen Zhang, Rong Fan, Lei Wang, Zhengting Wang, Tianyu Zhang, Jie Zhong

Department of Gastroenterology, Ruijin Hospital, Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2020; 26:e925018

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.925018

Available online: 2020-06-16

Published: 2020-08-12

BACKGROUND: Patients with Crohn’s disease (CD) experience physical impairments, poor quality of life and negative body image. These factors are exacerbated in CD patients with active perianal fistulas.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Baseline characteristics were compared in retrospectively enrolled CD patients with and without active perianal fistulas. The relationships between improvements in perianal fistulas and quality of life, body image, and self-esteem were determined. The effects of infliximab treatment on improvement of psychological-social status were assessed in CD patients with active perianal fistulas.
RESULTS: Of the 301 CD patients included in our institution’s database. 91 (30.2%) had active perianal fistulas. After adjustment by propensity score matching, CD patients with active perianal fistulas had lower self-esteem and more severe body image dissatisfaction than CD patients without active perianal fistulas (P<0.01 each). Perianal fistula response was closely associated with improvements in quality of life, body image dissatisfaction and self-esteem (P<0.01 each). Patients with perianal fistula treated with infliximab showed a response rate of 68.3%, significantly higher than the rate in patients with perianal fistula not treated with infliximab (P=0.005). Furthermore, improvements of life quality, body image and self-esteem were significantly greater in patients with perianal fistula who were than were not treated with infliximab (P<0.05 each).
CONCLUSIONS: CD patients with active perianal fistulas experience body image dissatisfaction, low self-esteem and poor quality of life. Treatment of these patients with infliximab could improve their body image, self-esteem and quality of life.

Keywords: Body Image, Crohn Disease, Fistula, Quality of Life