Development of a numerical index quantitating small bowel damage as detected by ultrasonography in Crohn's disease


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Abstract

Small intestine contrast ultrasonography (SICUS) has emerged as a valuable tool in the detection of intestinal damage in Crohn's disease (CD). Our aim was to develop a numerical index quantitating small bowel damage as detected by SICUS in patients with an established diagnosis of CD. One hundred and ten patients with ileal or ileocolonic CD were prospectively enrolled and followed up for one year. Disease activity was assessed by CDAI and CRP levels. Study variables included bowel wall thickness, lumen diameter, lesion length and number of lesion site. Fistula, mesenteric adipose tissue alteration, abscess and lymphnodes were also considered. Bowel segments were considered as a hollow cylinder. Standardized variations of variables were combined into a statistical and mathematical model to create an algorithm scoring an index value ranging from 0 to 200. Index was subdivided into a severity scale with 5 classes from the lower (A) to the higher score (E). Median lesion index value was significantly higher (p < 0.005) in patients with a CDAI > 150 and in patients with CRP > 5 mg/l (p = 0.003). Patients classified in class E and D at SICUS underwent surgery within one year follow up more frequently than those in class C, B and A (p < 0.0001). We propose a new index for assessment of small bowel lesions in CD (SLIC: sonographic lesion index for CD) developed by using SICUS. This index may turn ultrasonography in CD from a descriptive qualitative assessment to a quantitative numerical index suitable for comparison studies.

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