Review Article

Application of Ultrasound Elastography for Assessing Intestinal Fibrosis in Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Fiction or Reality?

Author(s): Roberto Gabbiadini, Eirini Zacharopoulou, Federica Furfaro, Vincenzo Craviotto, Alessandra Zilli, Daniela Gilardi, Giulia Roda, Laura Loy, Gionata Fiorino, Laurent Peyrin-Biroulet, Silvio Danese and Mariangela Allocca*

Volume 22 , Issue 3 , 2021

Published on: 19 November, 2020

Page: [347 - 355] Pages: 9

DOI: 10.2174/1389450121666201119142919

Price: $65


Background: Intestinal fibrosis and subsequent strictures represent an important burden in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Both the detection and evaluation of the degree of fibrosis in stricturing Crohn’s disease (CD) are important when deciding the best therapeutic strategy (medical anti-inflammatory therapy, endoscopic dilation, surgery). Ultrasound elastography (USE) is a non-invasive technique that has been proposed in the field of IBD for evaluating intestinal stiffness as a biomarker of intestinal fibrosis.

Objective: The aim of this review is to discuss the ability and current role of ultrasound elastography in the assessment of intestinal fibrosis. Results and Conclusion: Data on USE in IBD are provided by pilot and proof-of-concept studies with small sample size. The first type of USE investigated was strain elastography, while shear wave elastography has been introduced recently. Despite the heterogeneity of the methods of the studies, USE has been proven to be able to assess intestinal fibrosis in patients with stricturing CD. However, before introducing this technique in current practice, further studies with larger sample sizes are needed. In addition, the use of homogeneous parameters, the assessment of reproducibility, and the identification of validated cut-off values are essential.

Keywords: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Crohn's disease (CD), Ultrasound elastography (USE), heterogeneity, fibrosis, therapeutic strategy.

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