Disease of the terminal ileum can be diagnosed by ileocolonoscopy or barium radiography. We compared the diagnostic accuracy in the terminal ileum of ileocolonoscopy and small-bowel meal with pneumocolon.
Consecutive patients during an 18-month period who had both ileocolonoscopy and small bowel meal with pneumocolon were identified and their colonoscopy reports, radiographs, and ileal biopsies reviewed blindly by paired gastroenterologists, radiologists, and pathologists, respectively. A gold-standard diagnosis was determined for each patient by consensus.
Of 48 study subjects, 14 (29.2%) had Crohn's disease, 5 (10.4%) had lymphoid nodular hyperplasia, and 29 (60.4%) were normal. The sensitivity for a diagnosis of Crohn's ileitis was 92.9% for ileocolonoscopy and 100% for small-bowel meal, while their specificities were 100% and 97.1% respectively. The gold standard diagnosis confirmed ileocolonoscopic findings in 45 patients (93.8%) and radiographic findings in 42 patients (87.5%). Agreement between ileocolonoscopy and small bowel meal occurred in 39 cases (81.2%). By combining histology with ileocolonoscopy, the sensitivity and specificity could be increased to 100% for all diagnoses.
Ileocolonoscopy and small-bowel meal with pneumocolon are complementary techniques for imaging the terminal ileum. A prospective comparative trial is now needed to more objectively assess their accuracy, cost effectiveness, and adverse effects.