Researchers from the University of Regensburg in Regensburg, Germany, were keen to evaluate whether a diagnostic tool for examining the small bowel of patients with Crohn's disease could be designed that would avoid the need for intubation and positioning of an intestinal tube.
While necessary for the examination, this can be the least pleasant and most embarrassing part of the procedure for the patient.
Publishing their findings in the June issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology , the researchers comment that, "A more comfortable and highly sensitive examination of the small bowel would increase patient acceptance for recurring examinations, which are often necessary, for example, in patients with Crohn’s disease."
Diagnostic results of magnetic resonance (MR) enteroclysis correlate highly with those from conventional enteroclysis.
The study therefore evaluated the diagnostic efficacy of abdominal MR imaging (MRI) of the small bowel after drinking contrast agent only compared with conventional enteroclysis and abdominal MRI performed after enteroclysis in patients with suspected or proven Crohn’s disease.
The 21 patients involved in the study were Crohn's disease sufferers referred for conventional enteroclysis. Following this they then underwent abdominal MRI.
|Intubation and positioning of an intestinal tube – embarrassing for the patient|
| Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology |
Either prior to or following this procedure, each patient also underwent abdominal MRI performed using only orally administered contrast. In each case a 1.5T scanner was used.
Pathological findings which had been identified by conventional enteroclysis were shown correctly with both MRI after enteroclysis and MRI after oral contrast only.
In 6 of the 21 patients it was also possible to obtain additional information by MRI.
Analyzing the results, the researchers found no statistically significant differences in the diagnostic efficacy of the varying examinations.
Commenting on their findings, the research group concludes that not only can abdominal MRI with oral contrast only be used as a diagnostic tool for evaluation of the small bowel in patients with Crohn’s disease, but that it also "has the potential to replace conventional enteroclysis as follow-up."