Introduction: Colonoscopy is a necessary tool in the management of Crohn's disease, but the benefit achieved by the procedure is a matter of debate. In the present study we evaluate the clinical impact of performing colonoscopy in Crohn's disease patients. Methods: Consecutive patients with Crohn's disease undergoing colonoscopy were considered. The following issues were considered: appropriateness of indications; relevant findings able to change the management of the patients; the endoscopist's management decisions based on patient's clinical picture, i.e. increased, maintained or decreased treatment, compared with those selected after performing endoscopy. Results: 204 patients (116 male/88 female, mean age 41 years) were included. Colonoscopy was judged indicated in 52.9% cases, according to current guidelines. In 54% of patients, endoscopy revealed a significant lesion, and this rate was significantly lower for non-indicated procedures (25.9%, p < 0.0001). The endoscopic findings were in disagreement with symptoms in about 25% of cases, but the impact of the endoscopic findings on the endoscopist's decision was likely to be very small without any differences between appropriate and inappropriate procedures. Conclusions: Endoscopy is a potent tool in the management of Crohn's disease, if correctly used, but in the majority of cases a correct therapeutic decision may be established simply on the basis of clinical picture and non-invasive markers, whilst relevant endoscopic findings have a relatively low impact on the medical treatment. © 2008 Editrice Gastroenterologica Italiana S.r.l.
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