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Point-of-Care Ultrasound in Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Allocca M, Furfaro F, Fiorino G, Peyrin-Biroulet L, Danese S.

Published Jan 2021, in the Journal of Crohn's & colitis.


Inflammatory bowel diseases [IBD], including Crohn's disease [CD] and ulcerative colitis [UC], are chronic, relapsing and destructive inflammatory disorders of the gastrointestinal tract which can lead to organ damage and impair quality of life. A 'treat-to-target' strategy based on activity and severity of disease and response to treatment with close monitoring of intestinal inflammation is recommended. Ileocolonoscopy [CS] is considered the first-line procedure for the assessment of IBD, and magnetic resonance enterography [MRE] is the current standard for assessing the small bowel and complications in CD, and has been proposed as an alternative procedure to CS in the evaluation of both ileo-colonic CD and UC. As that both CS and MRE are invasive and expensive procedures and unappealing to patients, they are unfeasible as frequent and repetitive tools for the monitoring of disease activity. Bowel ultrasound [US] represents a well-tolerated, non-invasive and cost-effective modality to manage IBD patients in clinical practice. Compared to CS and MRE, bowel US has been shown to have the same level of accuracy in assessing and monitoring disease activity and severity of both CD and UC. It can be performed at the point-of-care and therefore allow for real-time clinical decision-making. Point-of-care ultrasound [POCUS] is suggested as the stethoscope of the future and is gaining interest and diffusion in the medical field because it can be used for the bedside examination of patients. The aim of this review is to discuss point-of-care bowel ultrasound [POCBUS] in the management of patients with IBD.


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