Background and Aims: Ultrasound elasticity imaging is a non-invasive technique developed to evaluate fibrosis. Measuring tissue strain by ultrasound elasticity imaging can reliably detect severe ileal fibrosis in patients with Crohn's disease [CD]. We have hypothesised that a more severe range of fibrosis might influence the therapeutic response to anti-tumour necrosis factor [TNF] treatment. The aim of this study was to assess the ability of ultrasound elasticity imaging to predict the therapeutic outcome for CD patients. Methods: Consecutive patients with ileal/ileocolonic CD, starting anti-TNF treatment, were enrolled for the study. These patients underwent bowel ultrasound and ultrasound elasticity imaging at baseline and at 14 and 52 weeks after anti-TNF treatment. Bowel wall stiffness was quantified by calculating the strain ratio between the mesenteric tissue and the bowel wall. Strain ratio ≥ 2 was used to identify severe ileal fibrosis. Transmural healing at 14 and 52 weeks was defined as bowel wall thickness ≤ 3 mm. Results: Thirty patients with CD were enrolled. Five patients underwent surgery for bowel obstruction. The frequency of surgeries was significantly greater in patients with a strain ratio ≥ 2 at baseline [p = 0.003]. A significant reduction of the bowel thickness was observed after 14 and 52 weeks of anti-TNF treatment [p < 0.005]. A significant inverse correlation was observed between the strain ratio values at baseline and the thickness variations following anti-TNF therapy [p = 0.007]; 27% of patients achieved transmural healing at 14 weeks. The baseline strain ratio was significantly lower in patients with transmural healing [p < 0.05]. Conclusions: This study shows that ultrasound elasticity imaging predicts therapeutic outcomes for CD patients treated with anti-TNF.
- Crohn's disease
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