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BACKGROUND: Intravenous corticosteroids are the mainstay of therapy for acute severe ulcerative colitis (ASUC), but 30%-40% of patients fail to respond. AIM: To investigate the effectiveness of exclusive enteral nutrition (EEN) as adjunctive therapy to intravenous corticosteroids in patients with ASUC. METHODS: This was an open-label randomised controlled trial, in which patients who were admitted with ASUC between August 2018 and May 2020 were randomised 1:1 to EEN or standard of care (SOC). Patients on EEN received a semi-elemental formula for 7 days along with SOC. The primary outcome was corticosteroid failure, defined by the need for salvage medical therapy or colectomy. Faecal microbial analysis was performed on day 1 and day 7 by 16s ribosomal RNA sequencing in some patients. RESULTS: Of 62 patients (mean age 35.3 ± 12.1 years, 40% male), 32 were randomised to EEN and 30 to SOC. Corticosteroid failure was lower on EEN compared to SOC (intention-to-treat analysis 25% vs 43%, P = 0.051; per protocol analysis 19% vs 43%, P = 0.04), without any difference in colectomy rate (9% vs 13%; P = 0.41). Patients on EEN had a shorter hospital stay [median (range) 10 (8-17) vs 13 (8-24) days; P = 0.04], higher day 7 albumin level (34 ± 4 vs 29 ± 3 g/L, P 

Original publication




Journal article


Aliment Pharmacol Ther

Publication Date





568 - 576


Adult, Colitis, Ulcerative, Enteral Nutrition, Feces, Female, Humans, Leukocyte L1 Antigen Complex, Male, Middle Aged, Standard of Care, Treatment Outcome, Young Adult