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Purpose of review

For patients who require colectomy, the ileal pouch anal anastomosis operation has alleviated the need for permanent ileostomy and has improved associated self-esteem issues. The most common complication of this surgery, however, is pouchitis. This review highlights the most recent research in the pathophysiology, risk factors, diagnosis and management of pouchitis, and pouch surveillance for neoplasia in patients who had ulcerative colitis.

Recent findings

Markers of inflammation, including fecal lactoferrin and mucosal cytokines, have been reported as useful in differentiating between irritable pouch syndrome and pouchitis. Numerous risk factors for the development of pouchitis have been identified. They include the presence of perinuclear antinuclear cytoplasmic antibodies, steroid use prior to colectomy, dysplasia as the indication for colectomy, the presence of extraintestinal manifestations, and an elevated platelet count. Therapy for acute pouchitis remains a short course of antibiotics. For chronic pouchitis, studies found success with rifaximin, tinidazole, and oral budesonide. Cancer in the residual rectal mucosa, in the ileal mucosa, and in pouch polyps occurs frequently enough to warrant surveillance.


Risk factors for the development of pouchitis should be discussed with patients. Less invasive diagnostic strategies have been proposed and antibiotics are still the mainstay of therapy.

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