Imaging in Patients with Crohn's Disease: Trends in Abdominal CT/MRI Utilization and Radiation Exposure Considerations over a 10-Year Period

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To study the trends in utilization of computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in patients with Crohn's disease and to evaluate changes in CT radiation exposure over a 10-year period.


In this institutional review board–approved single-institution retrospective study, we included patients who underwent CT and MRIs for evaluation of Crohn's disease between 2006 and 2015. A total of 3196 CTs and 1924 MR scans were performed in 2156 patients (mean age: 34.8 ± 17.71 yr; range: 3–91 yr) for initial diagnosis or follow-up of Crohn's disease between 2006 and 2015. Trends in CT/MR utilization was assessed by comparing the volume of CT/MRI studies performed each year. The changes in CT radiation exposure over the study period were estimated and compared.


The annual combined CT/MR utilization demonstrated a 1.9-fold rise over the last decade (2006: n = 358, 2015: n = 681, P < 0.001, r = 0.96). It was predominantly because of a substantial growth (9.2-fold increase) in the MR scan volume (2006: n = 37, 2015: n = 341, P < 0.001, r = 0.93), whereas CT volume did not show significant change (2006: n = 321, 2015: n = 340, P = 0.6). Over this same period, there was a 59.4% reduction in mean radiation exposure (2006: CT dose indexvol 16.9 ± 7.1 mGy, 2015: CT dose indexvol 6.87 ± 4.62 mGy, P < 0.001).


A 9-fold growth in annual MR scan volume contributed to a nearly 2-fold rise in yearly cross-sectional imaging utilization in Crohn's patients between 2006 and 2015. Rising trend in imaging utilization paralleled a 60% reduction of CT radiation exposure.

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