Coming to a GI Clinic Near You? Intestinal Ultrasound for Ulcerative Colitis

F De Voogd, et al. Gastroenterol 2022; 163: 1569-1581. Intestinal Ultrasound Is Accurate to Determine Endoscopic Response and Remission in Patients With Moderate to Severe Ulcerative Colitis: A Longitudinal Prospective Cohort Study

27 patients with moderate to severe ulcerative colitis (UC) completed followup in this single-center, prospective, longitudinal cohort study. Key findings:

  • Bowel wall thickness (BWT) correlated with endoscopic Mayo score. “The most accurate cutoff for BWT was 2.8 mm for endoscopic remission, 3.9 mm for improvement, and a decrease of 32% for response.”

The associated editorial (C Palmela, C Maaster. Gastroenterol 2022; 163: 1485-1487. Open Access! The Use of Intestinal Ultrasound in Ulcerative Colitis-More Than a Mucosal Disease?) details other studies showing the utility of intestinal ultrasound, including the TRUST%UC study which enrolled 253 patients with UC. “. At baseline, 88.5% of patients had increased bowel wall thickness (BWT). Response to therapy could be detected as early as 2 weeks after initiation of therapy, as shown by reduction of abnormal BWT.” In anothre study with severe UC, “BWT reduction of >20% being an excellent predictor of response to intravenous steroids at 48 hours, as shown recently by Ivemark et al.10

The editorial notes that intestinal ultrasound “is often thought as being operator dependent. Nonetheless, several studies have shown an excellent inter-observer agreement in IUS, especially for the assessment of BWT,7,12 as was also found in this [De Voogd] study.” An additional finding in the De Voogd study was that the “the submucosa was the most thickened layer, and after 8 weeks of therapy it was also the most responsive layer;” thus, UC is not simply a mucosal disease.

My take: This study shows that with more widespread adoption, many UC patients could be followed non-invasively with intestinal ultrasound (and calprotectin).

Related blog post:

IBD -Briefly Noted: Intestinal U/S and Anxiety/Depression Not Worsening Pediatric IBD Activity

EA van Wassenaer et al. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2022; 28: 783-787. Open Access PDF: Intestinal Ultrasound in Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Promising, but Work in Progress

Key points from this review:

  • Research has shown that IUS has the potential to be a valuable additional point-of-care tool to guide treatment choice and to monitor and predict treatment response, although evidence of its accuracy and value in clinical practice is still limited
  • The utility may be operator-dependent as well

My take: Due to low upfront costs, IUS would be appealing adjunct to current monitoring. However, one could envision IUS leading to more downstream studies (& costs), especially if its sensitivity and specificity are not very high.

EJ Brenner et al. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2022; 28: 728-733. Anxiety and Depressive Symptoms Are Not Associated With Future Pediatric Crohn’s Disease Activity

In this internet-based cohort of 9-17 yr olds (n=159, 96% white), the authors found no association between baseline PROMIS Pediatric anxiety score and subsequent sCDAI (change in sCDAI for 3-point change in PROMIS Pediatric −0.89; 95% CI −4.81 to 3.03). This study is in contrast to studies in adults which have shown a bidirectional relationship between anxiety/depression and IBD activity.

My take: It is difficult to know with certainty whether anxiety/depression may trigger IBD activity; more studies are needed. Treatment of mental health is important regardless of its effects on IBD activity.

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