Kids with Crohn’s Have New Exam Option

MR enterography is alternative method to having x-rays and CT of small bowels

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) Concerns about radiation exposure to children with stomach trouble is a thing of the past. More options are available to examine children with inflammatory bowel syndrome or Crohn disease.

According to a new research study, children ages 9 and over can undergo MR enterography as an alternative to x-ray images or CT enterography.

Which means, children now have safer imaging options.

"Speak with your doctor about all testing options."

The study performed 85 MR enterography procedures, also known as a type of magnetic resonance imaging, on 70 children ranging 9-18 years old, who potentially have inflammatory bowel disease.

The children were not sedated and were instructed to consume a a contrast material to create detailed images of their small intestine when undergoing the process.

In the study, conducted by William Faubion, MD, at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, MN, the quantity of contrast material ingested and any adverse events were recorded. The older the children were, the more material they could ingest.

The quality of the resulting images and enteric inflammation were then analyzed to determine whether the patients could handle the examination. The image quality for unenhanced images was higher than contrast-enhanced images at 4.7 and 4.1 respectively.

Younger children could drink a smaller amount of a liquid contrast material without negatively affecting the quality of the MR enterography image; the more liquid a child can drink, the more able or tolerant he or she is to the procedure.

During the study, one patient refused to drink the contrasting material. Two patients experienced nausea and one patient fainted, but no ongoing care was required.

The study concluded that MR enterography could correctly identify inflammation 80 percent of the time at the terminal end of the colon, 79 percent of the time in the right colon, and 90 percent of the time in the left colon, according to William A. Faubion, Jr., MD, one of the authors of the study. A small minority will have suboptimal bowel distention or minor adverse effects.

"In addition, we found that MR enterography could be successfully completed in the majority of children nine years old and older, without having to sedate them," Faubion said in a press release.

Researchers note that although a similar study using CT has not been performed on children, MR and CT enterography methods performed on adults yield similar small bowel images.

The study appears in the September issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology. The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
August 23, 2012
Last Updated:
August 28, 2012