Pediatric radiology

Value of diffusion-weighted imaging when added to magnetic resonance enterographic evaluation of Crohn disease in children.

PMID 26238966


MR enterography is increasingly utilized for noninvasive evaluation of disease activity in young patients with Crohn disease and has great impact on clinical management. Diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) is a rapid MR imaging technique that measures molecular diffusion of water and is sensitive to the inflammatory process; however, its value to MR enterography has not been rigorously evaluated. To determine whether the addition of DWI to MR enterography is helpful in evaluating Crohn disease activity in young patients when compared to a histological reference. In this single-institution retrospective study, we searched an imaging database for the period January 2010 to December 2012 to identify patients age 19 years and younger who had MR enterography with diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI). We used an electronic medical record search to identify those who had MR enterography and colonoscopy performed within 28 days of each other. All MR enterography scans were performed on a 1.5-T or 3-T clinical MR scanner with phased-array torso coil configuration using standard pulse sequences as well as axial DWI with b values of 50, 400 and 800. Bowel segments were evaluated for disease activity based on standard MR enterography sequences; in addition, segmental apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values were calculated based on DWI. Histological reference for disease activity was based on assessment for mucosal inflammatory changes on endoscopic biopsy. MR enterography and DWI evaluation were performed in a blinded fashion with respect to histological results. We included imaging of 78 bowel segments from 27 patients (mean age 14.5 ± 3.02 years) with known Crohn disease in the study. The mean ADC for bowel segments with active disease was 1.56 ± 0.7 × 10(3) mm(2)/s compared with 2.58 ± 1.4 × 10(3) mm(2)/s for segments without active disease, a difference that was statistically significant (P < 0.01, Student's t-test). Using a threshold value of 2.0 × 10(3) mm(2)/s, DWI demonstrated lower accuracy (64.1%) but higher sensitivity (78.8%) for detecting active disease compared with standard MR enterography (69.2% and 54.6%, respectively). Combining DWI with MR enterography, using DWI as the initial screen and MR enterography afterward to reduce false negativity, led to a significant increase in accuracy (76.9%; P = 0.03, McNemar's test) compared with either imaging technique alone. Although DWI does not perform as well as standard MR enterography for detection of active Crohn disease, the combination of DWI and MR enterography increases imaging accuracy for determining disease activity compared with either technique alone. These results indicate that DWI adds value to MR enterography and supports the incorporation of DWI into MR enterography protocols for evaluation of Crohn disease in young patients.