Bowel ultrasound imaging in patients with cystic fibrosis: Relationship with clinical symptoms and CFTR genotype

Mirella Fraquelli, Alessandra Baccarin, Fabiola Corti, Clara Benedetta Conti, Maria Chiara Russo, Serena Della Valle, Roberta Pozzi, Massimo Cressoni, Dario Conte, Carla Colombo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Ultrasound imaging is used to assess bowel abnormalities in gastrointestinal diseases. We aimed to assess the rate of predefined bowel ultrasound signs and their relationship with gastrointestinal symptoms and the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) genotype in cystic fibrosis patients in regular follow-up.

METHODS: Prospective study of 70 consecutive patients with cystic fibrosis and 45 controls who underwent abdominal ultrasound; pertinent findings were related to gastrointestinal symptoms and, in cystic fibrosis patients, to pancreatic status, malabsorption degree, lipase intake, CFTR genotype (classified as severe or mild against functional class of CFTR mutations).

RESULTS: 96% patients showed at least one abnormal bowel ultrasound sign. Most frequent signs were lymph node enlargement (64%), bowel loop dilatation (55%), thick corpuscular intraluminal content (49%), bowel wall hypervascularization (26%), thickened bowel wall (22%) and intussusception (17%). Patients with recurrent abdominal pain showed more bowel wall hypervascularization than patients without recurrent pain (47% vs. 19%, respectively; p = 0.02) and intussusception (58% vs. 17%, respectively; p < 0.01). Genotype was not associated to specific bowel ultrasound signs. Patients with bowel loop intussusception showed greater lipase intake than those without intussusception (8.118 ± 2.083 vs. 5.994 ± 4.187, respectively; p < 0.01).

CONCLUSION: Cystic fibrosis patients present a higher rate of bowel ultrasound abnormalities than controls. Bowel ultrasound abnormalities are associated with abdominal symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-6
Number of pages6
JournalDigestive and Liver Disease
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016


  • Abdominal Pain
  • Adolescent
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Constipation
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator
  • Diarrhea
  • Dilatation, Pathologic
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Diseases
  • Intestines
  • Intussusception
  • Lymphadenopathy
  • Male
  • Mutation
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic
  • Phenotype
  • Prospective Studies
  • Ultrasonography
  • Young Adult
  • Journal Article


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