Background: Screening for inflammatory small bowel disease has hereto relied on barium examination, usually performed after duodenal intubation. A noninvasive technique for imaging of the small bowel in such patients would be preferable.
Methods: A total of 59 patients were included in the study. A small bowel barium examination (SBE) was performed after duodenal intubation using a barium and air double-contrast technique. Ultrasound (US) of the right lower quadrant was performed with a 3.5- or 5-MHz transducer. The patients fasted overnight.
Results: In 37 of 39 patients with a normal SBE, US was also normal. In 20 patients, SBE showed lesions compatible with Crohn disease and in 18 of these the US study showed thickening of the bowel wall. One of these patients later tested positive for Yersinia enterocolitica. There were two false-positive and two false-negative US examinations. For detection of inflammatory disease of the small bowel, US was calculated to have a sensitivity of 0.95, specificity of 0.93, accuracy of 0.93, predictive value of a positive test was 0.90, and a predictive value of a negative test was 0.95.
Conclusions: US, therefore, seems to be a reliable method in the workup of patients suspected of having inflammatory small bowel disease. Thereby, US probably can select patients for SBF.