Rationale and objectives: To appraise the value of hydro-MRI in the assessment of activity in Crohn's disease.
Methods: After bowel opacification with 1000 mL of an orally administered 2.5% mannitol solution was achieved, axial and coronal breath-hold sequences (T2-weighted half-Fourier acquisition single-shot turbo spin-echo sequences with or without fat saturation, dynamic T1-weighted fast low-angle shot sequences, and contrast-enhanced T1-weighted fast low-angle shot with fat saturation sequences) were acquired in 82 patients with proved Crohn's disease at 1.0 T. Enhancement of the bowel wall was correlated with other MRI findings, with the Crohn's disease activity index (CDAI), and with levels of C-reactive protein (CRP).
Results: In Crohn's disease, contrast enhancement of the affected bowel wall was markedly increased in comparison with the normal bowel wall (+80% +/- 22% versus +43% +/- 12%; P = 3 x 10(-15)). Positive correlations could be established between the increase in bowel wall enhancement and many other MRI findings. Between the increase in bowel wall enhancement and the CDAI, only a poor correlation was found (r = 0.25, P = 0.02). There was no statistical correlation between the increase in bowel wall enhancement and CRP.
Conclusions: Hydro-MRI seems to be superior to the CDAI and CRP for the registration of Crohn's disease activity. In particular, differentiation between an active and an inactive (scarred) stenosis, which is crucial for the choice of therapeutic procedures, seems to be more reliable by the interpretation of several morphological and functional parameters on hydro-MRI than by the use of CDAI and CRP.