Background: The place of virtual colonoscopy (VC) in patients with Crohn's disease (CD) requiring endoscopic follow-up after surgery is unknown. The authors compared findings from VC versus conventional colonoscopy (CC) for assessing the postoperative recurrence of CD.
Methods: Sixteen patients with ileocolonic anastomosis for CD were prospectively enrolled from January 2001 to January 2002. Recurrence was assessed by CC according to Rutgeerts et al. VC was performed with a computed tomography scanner, with images examined by three radiologists who were unaware of the endoscopic findings.
Results: CC showed perianastomotic recurrence in 15 of 16 patients. Perianastomotic narrowing or stenosis was detected by VC in 11 of these 15 patients. There were 11 true positive, 1 true negative, 0 false-positive, and 4 false-negative findings (73% sensitivity, 100% specificity, 100% positive predictive value, 20% negative predictive value, 75% accuracy). Among the eight patients showing a rigid stenosis of the anastomosis not allowing passage of the colonoscope, VC detected narrowing or stenosis in seven patients.
Conclusions: The current findings suggest that although the widespread use of VC in CD is currently not indicated because of possible false-negative findings, this technique may represent an alternative to CC in noncompliant postsurgical patients with a rigid stenosis not allowing passage of the endoscope.