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Prospective cohort study of appendicectomy for treatment of therapy‐refractory ulcerative colitis.

Published: 8th August 2019

Authors: M. E. Stellingwerf, S. Sahami, D. C. Winter, S. T. Martin, G. R. D'Haens, G. Cullen et al.


Appendicectomy may reduce relapses and need for medication in patients with ulcerative colitis, but long‐term prospective data are lacking. This study aimed to analyse the effect of appendicectomy in patients with refractory ulcerative colitis.


In this prospective multicentre cohort series, all consecutive patients with refractory ulcerative colitis referred for proctocolectomy between November 2012 and June 2015 were counselled to undergo laparoscopic appendicectomy instead. The primary endpoint was clinical response (reduction of at least 3 points in the partial Mayo score) at 12 months and long‐term follow‐up. Secondary endpoints included endoscopic remission (endoscopic Mayo score of 1 or less), failure (colectomy or start of experimental medication), and changes in Inflammatory Bowel Disease Questionnaire (IBDQ) (range 32–224), EQ‐5D™ and EORTC‐QLQ‐C30‐QL scores.


A total of 28 patients (13 women; median age 40·5 years) underwent appendicectomy. The mean baseline IBDQ score was 127·0, the EQ‐5D™ score was 0·65, and the EORTC‐QLQ‐C30‐QL score was 41·1. At 12 months, 13 patients had a clinical response, five were in endoscopic remission, and nine required a colectomy (6 patients) or started new experimental medical therapy (3). IBDQ, EQ‐5D™ and EORTC‐QLQ‐C30‐QL scores improved to 167·1 (P < 0·001), 0·80 (P = 0·003) and 61·0 (P < 0·001) respectively. After a median of 3·7 (range 2·3–5·2) years, a further four patients required a colectomy (2) or new experimental medical therapy (2). Thirteen patients had a clinical response and seven were in endoscopic remission. The improvement in IBDQ, EQ‐5D™ and the EORTC‐QLQ‐C30‐QL scores remained stable over time.


Appendicectomy resulted in a clinical response in nearly half of patients with refractory ulcerative colitis and a substantial proportion were in endoscopic remission. Elective appendicectomy should be considered before proctocolectomy in patients with therapy‐refractory ulcerative colitis.

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