OBJECTIVES: Crohn's disease (CD) management targets mucosal healing on ileocolonoscopy as a treatment goal. We hypothesized that radiologic response is also associated with better long-term outcomes. METHODS: Small bowel CD patients between 1 January 2002 and 31 October 2014 were identified. All patients had pre-therapy computed tomography enterography (CTE)/magnetic resonance enterography (MRE) with follow-up CTE or MRE after 6 months, or 2 CTE/MREs≥6 months apart while on maintenance therapy. Radiologists characterized inflammation in up to five small bowel lesions per patient. At second CTE/MRE, complete responders had all improved lesions, non-responders had worsening or new lesions, and partial responders had other scenarios. CD-related outcomes of corticosteroid usage, hospitalization, and surgery were assessed using Kaplan-Meier survival analysis and multivariable Cox models. RESULTS: CD patients (n=150), with a median disease duration of 9 years, had 223 inflamed small bowel segments (76 with strictures and 62 with penetrating, non-perianal disease), 49% having ileal distribution. Fifty-five patients (37%) were complete radiologic responders, 39 partial (26%), and 56 non-responders (37%). In multivariable Cox models, complete and partial response decreased risk for steroid usage by over 50% (hazard ratio (HR)s: 0.37 (95% confidence interval (CI), 0.21-0.64); 0.45 (95% CI, 0.26-0.79)), and complete response decreased the risk of subsequent hospitalizations and surgery by over two-thirds (HRs: HR, 0.28 (95% CI, 0.15-0.50); HR, 0.34 (95% CI, 0.18-0.63)). CONCLUSIONS: Radiological response to medical therapy is associated with significant reductions in long-term risk of hospitalization, surgery, or corticosteroid usage among small bowel CD patients. These findings suggest the significance of radiological response as a treatment target.
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