Inflammatory activity in Crohn disease: ultrasound findings

Abdom Imaging. 2008 Sep-Oct;33(5):589-97. doi: 10.1007/s00261-007-9340-z.


Improvements in the ultrasound examination of bowel disease have registered in the last years the introduction of new technologies regarding high frequency probes (US), highly sensitive color or power Doppler units (CD-US), and the development of new non-linear technologies that optimize detection of contrast agents. Contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CE-US) most importantly increases the results in sonographic evaluation of Crohn disease inflammatory activity. CE-US has become an imaging modality routinely employed in the clinical practice for the evaluation of parenchymal organs due to the introduction of new generation microbubble contrast agents which persist in the bloodstream for several minutes after intravenous injection. The availability of high frequency dedicated contrast-specific US techniques provide accurate depiction of small bowel wall perfusion due to the extremely high sensitivity of non-linear signals produced by microbubble insonation. In Crohn's disease, CE-US may characterize the bowel wall thickness by differentiating fibrosis from edema and may grade the inflammatory disease activity by assessing the presence and distribution of vascularity within the layers of the bowel wall (submucosa alone or the entire bowel wall). Peri-intestinal inflammatory involvement can be also characterized. CE-US can provide prognostic data concerning clinical recurrence of the inflammatory disease and evaluate the efficacy of drugs treatments.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Contrast Media
  • Crohn Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / diagnostic imaging
  • Prognosis
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Color*


  • Contrast Media