Can ultrasound be used as the primary imaging in children with suspected Crohn disease?


There is growing literature on the use of #pediatricultrasound (US) for evaluation of Crohn disease in adults, but few studies have been conducted on children. Several studies demonstrated high accuracy of US in the diagnosis of #Crohndisease. Using US as the primary screening imaging modality for Crohn disease can reduce health care costs, the need for sedation and ionizing radiation exposure.


The aim of our study is to determine if US can be used for screening evaluation of pediatric Crohn disease.

Materials and methods

A prospective cohort study of pediatric patients undergoing MR enterography (MRE) for suspected or known history of Crohn disease was performed, with gray-scale and Doppler US of the terminal ileum done immediately before or after MRE. US images were interpreted by two radiologists (Reader 1 and Reader 2) not involved in image acquisition, in blinded and randomized fashion. US findings of Crohn disease including bowel wall thickening, wall stratification, increased vascularity on Doppler, lymphadenopathy, fat infiltration and extraintestinal complications were evaluated. MRE findings of terminal ileitis were considered the reference standard. Demographic data, body mass index (BMI), symptoms, and laboratory, endoscopic and histopathological data were obtained from electronic medical records.


Forty-one patients (mean age: 13.7 years: 4.6-18.9 years) were evaluated. Mean BMI was 21.2 (range: 13-40.2); 10 patients (24.3%) were either overweight or obese. Final diagnoses were Crohn disease (n=24), ulcerative colitis (n=4) and normal/non-inflammatory bowel disease-related diagnoses (n=13). US demonstrated sensitivity of 67% and 78% and specificity of 78% and 83%, by Reader 1 and Reader 2, respectively. MRE sensitivity and specificity were 75% and 100%, respectively, compared to final clinicopathological diagnosis. Interobserver agreement between Reader 1 and Reader 2 was good (0.6< kappa <0.8).


In screening for Crohn disease in children, US has limited sensitivity for detecting terminal ileitis.

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