Good Enough Glance at Crohn's Disease

Crohn's disease diagnosed with a revised magnetic resonance enterography protocol

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Television was still good enough to watch before HDTV, and it was cheaper. The same can now be said for the proposed diagnostic protocol for Crohn's disease.

New research shows that magnetic resonance enterography (MRE) provides an adequate image to use for diagnosing Crohn's disease, and results in less radiation exposure for patients than traditional computed tomograpy (CT). 

"MRE exposes Crohn's patients to less radiation."

A study by lead author David J. Grand, M.D., director of the Body MRI program at Rhode Island Hospital and colleagues included 26 patients who were either already diagnosed Crohn's disease or suspected to have Crohn's disease. Immediately following a computed tomography enterography (CTE), the patients had the magnetic resonance enterography(MRE) without the usual anti-peristaltic agent that provides higher-quality images used.

Two fellowship-trained abdominal imagers evaluated each study  for exam quality, diagnostic confidence and actual presence of Crohn's disease.

The quality of the MREs was ranked a little lower than the quality of the CTE, but both tests were judged similarly high  for level of confidence in interpretation.

Crohn's disease is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It is a chronic, often relapsing, disease which may affect any portion of the gastrointestinal tract, most commonly the digestive tract.

IBD's incidence has increased 31 percent since 1991. Cross-sectional imaging is currently used to diagnose patients with Crohn's disease because it can assess the entire bowel and extra-luminal complications including fistula and abscess.

While CTE is an effective tool for diagnosing Crohn's disease, the radiation dose the patient receives is up to five times higher than that of the test it has largely replaced.

One study showed that diagnostic imaging exams in a geographic area exposed the majority of Crohn's patients to an additional annual radiation dose the same as the annual background radiation in the U.S.

Recently, MRE has demonstrated an excellent ability in both in detection of Crohn's disease as well as judging the severity of the disease. Additionally, MRE can eliminate radiation exposure to patients who suffer from Crohn's disease their entire lives.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
June 15, 2011
Last Updated:
June 26, 2011