Magnetic resonance imaging for evaluation of disease activity in Crohn's disease: a systematic review

Eur Radiol. 2009 Jun;19(6):1450-60. doi: 10.1007/s00330-008-1287-0. Epub 2009 Feb 3.


To systematically review the evidence on the accuracy of MRI for grading disease activity in Crohn's disease (CD). The MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL and Cochrane databases were searched for studies on the accuracy of MRI in grading CD compared to a predefined reference standard. Two independent observers scored all relevant data. Three disease stages were defined: remission, mild and frank disease. The accuracy rates of MRI per disease stage were calculated by means of a random-effects model. Seven studies were included from a search resulting in 253 articles. In total 140 patients (16 patients in remission, 29 with mild disease and 95 with frank disease) were used for data analysis. MRI correctly graded 91% (95% CI: 84-96%) of patients with frank disease, 62% (95% CI: 44-79) of patients with mild disease and 62% (95% CI: 38-84) of patients in remission. MRI more often overstaged than understaged disease activity; MRI overstaged disease activity in 38% of patients in remission, mostly as mild disease. Overstaging of mild disease was observed in 21%, understaging in 17%. MRI correctly grades disease activity in a large proportion of patients with frank disease. For patients in remission or with mild disease, MRI correctly stages disease activity in many patients (62%).

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Crohn Disease / diagnosis*
  • Crohn Disease / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Intestines / pathology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / statistics & numerical data*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity