Background: Our aim was to assess the role of Doppler ultrasound (US) in detecting changes in the splanchnic hemodynamic variables measured in patients with active or quiescent inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and healthy subjects.
Methods: Sixty-five patients, 31 with Crohn's disease (CD), 24 with ulcerative colitis (UC), 10 with IBS, and 10 matched normal subjects were evaluated by means of Doppler US. The mean velocity of portal and mesenteric venous flow, the blood flow volume of portal and mesenteric veins, and the resistance index (RI) of the superior mesenteric artery (SMA) were studied in all patients.
Results: Patients with active IBD had a splanchnic venous flow that was significantly higher, and an RI of the SMA significantly lower, than the IBS patients and healthy controls; however, a higher portal and mesenteric blood flow and lower RI of the SMA was documented in patients with active UC but not in those in whom the disease was quiescent. Patients with quiescent CD had significantly higher portal and mesenteric blood flow and lower RI of the SMA than IBS and healthy controls. No significant differences were found between IBS patients, quiescent UC patients, and healthy controls.
Conclusion: This study shows that Doppler US can demonstrate splanchnic hemodynamic changes in active IBD patients and, in particular, can be used to differentiate between active and quiescent UC. However, the assessment of CD activity by means of Doppler US requires further investigation.