Abdominal Ultrasound Scans Help Characterize Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine

By Mark Greener

Abdominal ultrasound scans may help characterize the location, severity and activity of inflammatory bowel disease in children and young adults.

Researchers from the University of Tübingen, Germany, performed 92 abdominal ultrasound scans measuring bowel wall thickness and echo texture, and 41 colonoscopic examinations with biopsies in 78 patients, aged between 1 month and 17.8 years. Of these, 26 had Crohn's disease, 21 had ulcerative colitis and two had indeterminate inflammatory bowel disease.

The remaining 29 patients, who had other intestinal disorders such as infections and ischemic lesions, served as controls.

Sensitivity of ultrasound in detecting severe macroscopic lesions depicted on endoscopy was 77 percent, with a specificity of 83 percent. Sensitivity for detecting severe histological inflammation was 75 percent, with a specificity of 82 percent. Maximal bowel wall thickness showed a statistically significant correlation with disease activity score.

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