Ultrasound Effective in Monitoring Ulcerative Colitis

By Reuters Staff

January 06, 2020

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Intestinal ultrasound (IUS) is an effective non-invasive tool for monitoring disease - and possibly treatment response - in patients with ulcerative colitis (UC), according to German researchers.

In a paper in Gut, Dr. Christian Maaser of Staedtisches Klinikum Lueneburg and colleagues note that although there is evidence of the usefulness of this approach, "Data on using IUS to monitor treatment success in UC are still limited and most studies are single-centre studies usually performed in centres with a special expertise in IUS."

To investigate further, the researchers conducted a prospective, observational study under real-world conditions with routine medical follow-up.

They enrolled 253 patients from 42 German outpatient and inpatient centers that specialized in inflammatory bowel disease. All received standard-of-care therapy at the discretion of the treating physician, including aminosalicylates, corticosteroids, conventional immunosuppressives and biologics.

During the study, up to four visits were scheduled. These consisted of a baseline visit and others at up to 12 weeks. At baseline, 224 of the patients (88.5%) had an increased bowel wall thickness (BWT) in the descending or sigmoid colon.

However, within two weeks the proportion of patients with increased BWT in the sigmoid colon dropped significantly from 89.3% to 38.6% and in the descending colon from 83.0% to 42.9%. The numbers remained similarly low until the end of the study.

There was a significant correlation between normalization of BWT and clinical response, with 90.5% of patients with normalized BWT showing a symptomatic response. Only 9.5% did not show a symptomatic response.

The researchers further note that they "found no differences in the diagnostic quality of IUS measurements between different gastroenterologists." In addition, "No significant differences were obtained regarding the results of measurements at different IBD centres or with the use of different ultrasound machines."

The team calls for further studies "to determine the value of IUS in predicting short and long-term response and outcomes of therapies in UC."

They conclude, "IUS may be preferred in general practice in a point-of-care setting for monitoring the disease course and for assessing short-term treatment response."

Dr. Maaser did not respond to requests for comment.

SOURCE: https://bit.ly/2sHNGNk Gut, online December 20, 2019.