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Prospective comparison of computed tomography enterography and magnetic resonance enterography for assessment of disease activity and complications in ileocolonic Crohn's disease.

BACKGROUND: Studies comparing magnetic resonance enterography (MRE) and computerized tomography enterography (CTE) for Crohn's disease (CD) are scarce.

METHODS: The aim of this study was to prospectively compare the sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of abdominal MRE and CTE to assess disease activity and complications (fistulas, strictures) in ileocolonic CD. A total of 44 patients (23 male; 21 female; mean age 44) with ileocolonic CD underwent both MR and CT in a short time interval (mean 5 days). A 16-slice CT with intravenous contrast and an MRI with oral and paramagnetic intravenous contrast were performed. Ileocolonoscopy was used as the reference standard. Sensitivity values of CT and MR for detection of extraenteric signs of disease were compared with the McNemar test, with results of imaging studies, surgery, and physical examination as reference standards.

RESULTS: No significant differences in sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy were observed between MRE and CTE regarding the following parameters at the patient level: localization of CD (P = 1.0), bowel wall thickening (P = 1.0), bowel wall enhancement (P = 1.0), enteroenteric fistulas (P = 0.08), detection of abdominal nodes (P = 1.0), and perivisceral fat enhancement (P = 0.31). MR was significantly superior compared to CT in detecting strictures (P = 0.04). Per segment analysis showed that MRE was significantly superior to CTE in detecting ileal wall enhancement (P = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS: MR and CT are equally accurate to assess disease activity and bowel damage in CD. MR may be superior to CT in detecting intestinal strictures and ileal wall enhancement. MR may represent an alternative technique to CT in assessing ileocolonic CD.

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