Frequency, natural course and clinical significance of symptomatic terminal ileitis

J Dig Dis. 2016 Jan;17(1):36-43. doi: 10.1111/1751-2980.12307.


Objective: Treatment guidelines for managing symptomatic terminal ileitis (TI) are lacking. We followed up a cohort of symptomatic TI patients to conduct an algorithm for their management.

Methods: Consecutive patients with symptomatic TI from July 2007 to October 2013 were included. Symptomatic TI was defined as isolated terminal ileum ulceration (superficial or deep) and/or nodularity with abdominal symptoms. Patients were diagnosed either with intestinal tuberculosis (ITB) or Crohn's disease (CD) using standard criteria or received only symptomatic treatment according to their clinical manifestations, endoscopic, imaging and histological (specific to ITB/CD vs non-specific) features. Based upon above findings, an algorithm was conducted to differentiate non-specific TI from those with specific etiology (ITB/CD).

Results: In all, 63/898 (7.0%) patients with ulcero-constrictive intestinal disease had TI, of which 45 (26 males and 19 females) were included. Fever, diarrhea, weight loss, deep ulcers, and ileal thickening were more frequently observed in patients with ITB or CD having specific treatments compared with those receiving symptomatic treatments. All patients with deep ulcers and those with superficial ulcer and specific histology had ITB/CD. In patients with superficial ulcers and/or nodularity and non-specific inflammation (n = 31), the absence of fever, diarrhea, GI bleeding or weight loss had a negative predictive value of 92% in excluding ITB/CD.

Conclusions: In symptomatic TI patients with superficial ulcers and a non-specific histology, the absence of fever, diarrhea, GI bleeding or weight loss rules out the possibility of significant diagnoses like ITB/CD.

Keywords: Crohn's disease; intestinal tuberculosis; terminal ileitis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Colonoscopy
  • Crohn Disease / diagnosis*
  • Crohn Disease / microbiology
  • Crohn Disease / therapy*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Disease Management
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Ileitis / diagnosis*
  • Ileitis / microbiology
  • Ileitis / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Terminology as Topic
  • Tuberculosis, Gastrointestinal / diagnosis
  • Young Adult