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P254. Contrast enhanced ultrasound as a point-of-care technique in complicated Crohn's disease patients

E. Calabrese, F. Zorzi, E. Stasi, E. Lolli, S. Onali, P. Scarozza, G. Condino, C. Petruzziello, L. Biancone, F. Pallone, Gastroenterology Unit, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Department of Systems Medicine, Rome, Italy


Crohn's disease (CD) is associated with penetrating complications such as phlegmons and intra-abdominal abscesses. As the management of the patients influenced by the presence of such complications, a readily available tool for the diagnosis of extramural complications in CD is needed. Preliminary findings suggest that the assessment of vascularity within intra-abdominal masses may distinguish between phlegmons and abscesses. Aim of our study was to evaluate the use of contrast enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) to distinguish between phlegmons and intra-abdominal abscesses in CD patients as a point-of-care technique.


From November 2011, consecutive patients with complicated CD were enrolled. Indications of patient assessments by CEUS were symptoms, signs and biochemical exams indicating penetrating behavior (abdominal pain, mass, fever, elevated CRP and leukocytosis). A total of 22 CD pts (14 M; median age 27 yrs, range 18–75; disease duration: median 54 mos, range 1–564; CD site: ileal in 13 pts, ileo-colonic in 9 pts; CD behavior: penetrating in 20 pts, stricturing in 2 pts; previous ileocolonic resection in 9 pts) were included. Clinical evaluation by an IBD expert and other cross sectional imaging techniques (MR and CT) were considered as the standard.


CEUS detected abscesses in 9 and phlegmons in 12 pts. One patient had an unspecified lesion that was diagnosed as metastasis by PET. Six out of 9 abscesses were confirmed by CT-Enteroclysis and these pts underwent surgery during the follow up. The remaining 3 pts with abscesses were treated with antibiotics and are still in follow up (17.5 mos). In the phlegmon group, 4 out of 12 patients were evaluated by CT or MRI that confirmed CEUS findings in 3 cases but in one patient a deep abscess was identified and surgery was scheduled. Eight out of 12 pts were clinically followed up (median: 16 mos). Two of these patients developed an abscess after one week from CEUS despite medical treatment. Overall CEUS correctly identified 19 out of 22 lesions (86%) on the basis of cross sectional imaging modalities and clinical follow up used as final diagnosis.


CEUS is a non-invasive, radiation free and point-of-care technique able to differentiate phlegmons from abscesses driving a prompt clinical management in complicated CD patients.