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A retrospective study showing maintenance treatment options for paediatric CD in the first year following diagnosis after induction of remission with EEN: supplemental enteral nutrition is better than nothing!

Hazel Duncan1*, Elaine Buchanan1, Tracey Cardigan1, Vikki Garrick2, Lee Curtis2, Paraic McGrogan2, Andrew Barclay2 and Richard K Russell2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Nutrition & Dietetics, Yorkhill Hospital Glasgow, Dalnair Street, Glasgow G3 8SJ, United Kingdom

2 Paediatric Gastroenterology Department, Yorkhill Hospital Glasgow, Glasgow, United Kingdom

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BMC Gastroenterology 2014, 14:50  doi:10.1186/1471-230X-14-50

Published: 20 March 2014



A limited body of research suggests that ongoing maintenance enteral nutrition (MEN) can be beneficial in maintaining disease remission in Crohn’s Disease (CD). We aimed to assess how achievable MEN is and whether it helps to prolong remission.


Patients newly diagnosed with CD in 2010 and 2011 who commenced exclusive enteral nutrition (EEN) for 8 weeks were followed up for a year post diagnosis. All patients who took EEN were encouraged to continue MEN post EEN. Data on azathioprine use was also collected. Categorical variables were compared using chi–square/Fischer’s exact test. Medians were expressed along with complete data ranges.


59 patients (34 male, median age 11.07 years, range 2.5-16.33 years) were identified. 11/59 (18%) had a poor response to EEN and were switched to steroids. 48/59 patients completed 8 weeks EEN and achieved clinical remission/response. 46/48 patients received Modulen IBD®, 29/48 (60%) consumed EEN orally and 19/48 (40%) via NGT. 15/48 (31%) patients were able to continue MEN post EEN completion. MEN was consumed for a mean of 10.8 months (range 4–14 months). 14/15 patients drank MEN and 1/15 had MEN via NGT. Remission rates at 1 year in patients continuing MEN were 60% (9/15) compared to15% (2/13) in patients taking no treatment (p = 0.001) and 65% (13/20) in patients taking azathioprine (p = 0.14).


A sub group of patients can continue MEN as a maintenance treatment and this seems a useful strategy, especially in those who are not commencing azathioprine.

Crohn’s disease; Maintenance; Enteral nutrition; Children