Can ultrasound be used as the primary imaging in children with suspected Crohn disease?
OBJECTIVE To compare results obtained by abdominal ultrasonography with clinical findings, including endoscopic and histologic findings, to evaluate the location and activity of inflammatory bowel disease, including disease controls in children. METHODS Ninety-two ultrasonographic scans and 41 colonoscopic examinations with biopsies were performed in 78 patients (1 month to 17.8 years of age) with Crohn's disease (n = 26), ulcerative colitis (n = 21), inflammatory bowel disease of indeterminate type (n = 2), and disease controls (other intestinal disorders, including infectious and ischemic lesions; n = 29). Laboratory parameters for inflammatory bowel disease were determined, and disease activity was assessed by a combination of clinical and laboratory data. Bowel wall thickness and echo texture were recorded in a standardized way by ultrasonography and compared with endoscopic and histologic findings in a segment-by-segment comparison. RESULTS Sensitivity and specificity of ultrasonography in detecting patients with severe macroscopic lesions depicted on endoscopy were 77% and 83%, respectively. Sensitivity and specificity of ultrasonography in detecting patients with severe histologic inflammation were 75% and 82%. There was a statistically significant correlation between maximal bowel wall thickness and disease activity score (P < .01). CONCLUSIONS Abdominal ultrasonography may be helpful in evaluating the location, severity, and inflammatory activity of inflammatory bowel disease in children and young adults.