Crohn Disease of the Small Bowel: Comparison of CT Enterography, MR Enterography, and Small-Bowel Follow-Through as Diagnostic Techniques

Purpose: To prospectively compare the accuracy of computed tomographic (CT) and magnetic resonance (MR) enterography and small-bowel follow-through (SBFT) examination for detection of active small-bowel inflammation and extraenteric complications in patients with Crohn disease (CD).

Materials and Methods: The institutional review board approved the study protocol; informed consent was obtained from all participants. Thirty-one consecutive patients who had CD or who were suspected of having CD underwent CT and MR enterography, SBFT, and ileocolonoscopy. Two independent readers reviewed CT and MR enterographic and SBFT images for presence of active terminal ileitis and extraenteric complications. Accuracy values of CT and MR enterography and SBFT for identification of active terminal ileitis were evaluated with the receiver operating characteristic method, with ileocolonoscopic findings as the reference standard. Sensitivity values of CT and MR enterography and SBFT for detection of extraenteric complications were compared by using the McNemar test, with results of imaging studies, surgery, and physical examination as reference standards.

Results: The study population included 30 patients (17 men, 13 women; mean age, 29.0 years) with CD. Differences in areas under the receiver operating characteristic curves for CT enterography (0.900 and 0.894), MR enterography (0.933 and 0.950), and SBFT (0.883 and 0.928) for readers 1 and 2, respectively, in the detection of active terminal ileitis were not significant (P > .017). Sensitivity values for detection of extraenteric complications were significantly higher for CT and MR enterography (100% for both) than they were for SBFT (32% for reader 1 and 37% for reader 2) (P < .001).

Conclusion: Because MR enterography has a diagnostic effectiveness comparable to that of CT enterography, this technique has potential to be used as a radiation-free alternative for evaluation of patients with CD.

Supplemental material:

© RSNA, 2009


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Article History

Published in print: 2009