Impact of magnetic resonance enterography in the management of small bowel Crohn’s disease

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Magnetic resonance enterography (MRE) is a relatively new imaging modality that involves small bowel distension with orally administered fluid. Few studies have assessed its impact on patient management.


The aim of this study was to determine whether MRE influenced the management of patients with established small bowel Crohn’s disease (CD).

Materials and methods

From a prospectively maintained database of patients with inflammatory bowel disease, we identified patients with small bowel CD who underwent MRE between January 2007 and December 2010. The results of the MRE and subsequent changes in patient management within 1 month were evaluated.


Thirty women and 27 men with CD were included. Seven patients (12%) had a normal MRE. Forty-two of 57 (74%) patients had a change in management, and 41/50 (82%) patients with an abnormal MRE had changes in management (P<0.0008). After MRE, 20/42 (47%) patients had surgery and 22/42 (53%) had changes in medical treatment. Patients with stricturing disease had more surgical intervention (P=0.02), and patients with active disease on MRE had more medical intervention (P=0.0001). Patients with two or more abnormalities on MRE had more surgery compared with medical therapy (P=0.02).


The majority of patients with small bowel CD had a change in management as a result of the MRE. Because of its high clinical impact on patient management, MRE should become one of the preferred methods of small bowel evaluation in CD. Specific MRE findings may help to stratify treatment options, however, further work is required to validate this.

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