Successful Treatment of Rectovaginal Fistula Complicating Ulcerative Colitis With Infliximab: A Case Report and Review of the Literature

Takako Nirei, Shinsuke Kazama, Masaya Hiyoshi, Nelson Hirokazu Tsuno, Takeshi Nishikawa, Toshiaki Tanaka, Junichiro Tanaka, Tomomichi Kiyomatsu, Keisuke Hata, Kazushige Kawai, Hiroaki Nozawa, Takamitsu Kanazawa, Hironori Yamaguchi, Soichiro Ishihara, Eiji Sunami, Joji Kitayama, Toshiaki Watanabe


Rectovaginal fistula is a rare complication of ulcerative colitis (UC) regardless of surgical history of rectum. Various surgical treatment modalities for the closure of rectovaginal fistula have been developed, but a radically curative therapy remains to be developed. Recently, infliximab, the chimeric anti-human tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) antibody, has been largely applied for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and a few reports have shown its partial effectiveness in the management of rectovaginal fistulas associated with UC. In the present report, we describe the successful management of a rectovaginal fistula, following the stapled ileo-anal canal anastomosis in a UC patient, by administration of infliximab. The patient was a 40-year-old female, initially diagnosed as UC (total colitis type) at the age of 15. She received a restorative proctocolectomy at the age of 22, and developed a rectovaginal fistula at the eighth postoperative day. The surgical treatment of the fistula was repeated four times during the 10-year period, but it recurred in intervals ranging between 2 months and 5 years after the operation. The last recurrence occurred at the age of 32, but the surgical repair was considered difficult and a conservative management was indicated. At the age of 40, infusions of infliximab were started. Four weeks after the first infusion, drainage from the fistula was evidently reduced, and 2 weeks later, the fistula was completely closed. Thereafter, no recurrence of the fistula is observed, as confirmed by the abdominal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and the barium-enema study. From the present case, we concluded that infliximab may be an effective strategy for the management of fistulas associated with UC.

J Clin Med Res. 2015;7(1):59-61


Ulcerative colitis; Rectovaginal fistula; Anti-human tumor necrosis factor alpha antibody

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