Imaging Findings of Ileal Inflammation at Computed Tomography and Magnetic Resonance Enterography: What do They Mean When Ileoscopy and Biopsy are Negative?

Avinash K. Nehra, Shannon P. Sheedy, Michael L. Wells, Wendaline M. Vanburen, Stephanie L. Hansel, Parakkal Deepak, Yong S. Lee, David H. Bruining, Joel G. Fletcher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background and Aims: Our goal was to determine the importance of ileal inflammation at computed tomography or magnetic resonance enterography in Crohn's disease patients with normal ileoscopy. Methods: Patients with negative ileoscopy and biopsy within 30 days of CT or MR enterography showing ileal inflammation were included. The severity [0-3 scale] and length of inflammation within the distal 20 cm of the terminal ileum were assessed on enterography. Subsequent medical records were reviewed for ensuing surgery, ulceration at ileoscopy, histological inflammation, or new or worsening ileal inflammation or stricture on enterography. Imaging findings were classified as: Confirmed Progression [subsequent surgery or radiological worsening, new ulcers at ileoscopy or positive histology]; Radiologic Response [decreased inflammation with medical therapy]; or Unlikely/Unconfirmed Inflammation. Results: Of 1471 patients undergoing enterography and ileoscopy, 112 [8%] had imaging findings of inflammation with negative ileoscopy, and 88 [6%] had negative ileoscopy and ileal biopsy. Half [50%; 44/88] with negative biopsy had moderate/severe inflammation at enterography, with 45%, 32% and 11% having proximal small bowel inflammation, stricture or fistulas, respectively. Two-thirds with negative biopsy [67%; 59/88] had Confirmed Progression, with 68%, 70% and 61% having subsequent surgical resection, radiological worsening or ulcers at subsequent ileoscopy, respectively. Mean length and severity of ileal inflammation in these patients was 10 cm and 1.6. Thirteen [15%] patients had Radiologic Response, and 16 [18%] had Unlikely/Unconfirmed Inflammation. Conclusion: Crohn's disease patients with unequivocal imaging findings of ileal inflammation at enterography despite negative ileoscopy and biopsy are likely to have active inflammatory Crohn's disease. Disease detected by imaging may worsen over time or respond to medical therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)455-464
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Crohn's and Colitis
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 21 2020


  • CT enterography
  • Crohn's disease
  • MR enterography
  • biopsy
  • ileoscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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