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Living with Crohns disease: an exploratory cross-sectional qualitative study into decision-making and expectations in relation to autologous haematopoietic stem cell treatment (the DECIDES study)

11 Sep 2017


Severe Crohn’s disease impacts negatively on individual quality of life, with treatment options limited once conventional therapies have been exhausted. The aim of this study was to explore factors influencing decision-making and expectations of people considering or participating in the Autologous Haematopoietic Stem Cell Treatment trial.


An international, cross-sectional qualitative study, involving semistructured face to face interviews across five sites (four UK and one Spain). 38 participants were interviewed (13 men, 25 women; age range 23–67 years; mean age 37 years). The mean age at diagnosis was 20 years. Interviews were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim and transcripts were analysed using a framework approach.


Four themes emerged from the analysis: (1) ‘making your mind up’—a determination to receive stem cell treatment despite potential risks; (2) communicating and understanding risks and benefits; (3) non-participation—your choice or mine? (4) recovery and reframing of personal expectations.


Decision-making and expectations of people with severe Crohn’s disease in relation to autologous haematopoietic stem cell treatment is a complex process influenced by participants’ histories of battling with their condition, a frequent willingness to consider novel treatment options despite potential risks and, in some cases, a raised level of expectation about the benefits of trial participation. Discussions with patients who are considering novel treatments should take into account potential ‘therapeutic misestimation’, thereby enhancing shared decision-making, informed consent and the communication with those deemed non-eligible.

ASTIC trial EudraCT Number

2005-003337-40: results.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open