Chronic IBD Can Be Evaluated Without CT or Radiation

CHICAGO, IL – Contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) can be used to evaluate and monitor inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) without exposing patients to CT scans or ionizing radiation, according to a report announced today (Friday) at a conference in Chicago.

“Many patients with IBD have had more than 20 CT scans because they get this chronic disease when they are young,” according to Dr. Stephanie Wilson, MD, Professor of Radiology, University of Calgary, Department of Diagnostic Imaging, Foothills Medical Center, Calgary, Canada. Wilson spoke at the 25th annual Advances in Contrast Ultrasound conference.

Wilson called CEUS an “ideal tool for monitoring disease activity and response to therapy” over a patient’s lifetime, and said it is particularly important for young patients with lifelong IBD. She added that certain expensive treatment options may be avoided when CEUS indicates that IBD is not active.

Wilson noted the potential increased rate of cancers due to ionizing radiation from CT scans, which may be due to the excess use of CT imaging. She said that CEUS offers equivalent or superior efficacy to CT at significantly less cost.

“Contrast-enhanced ultrasound is clearly a bargain compared to CT and MR,” she said, adding that the cost impact of imaging procedures has “never been more important than it is today.” According to Wilson, an ultrasound machine, which is portable, can be moved to patients, and does not require remodeling of a facility, may cost $250,000, while a CT scanner can cost $2.5 million and MR equipment can cost between $2.5 million and $4 million.

IBD can have a lifelong impact on patients, causing pain and sometimes requiring surgery, Wilson told the conference. Imaging is critical, she said, and CEUS often provides important diagnostic information that is not provided by higher-end imaging procedures. Showing a number of CEUS images, Wilson said, “You cannot see this on CT or MR.”

In CEUS imaging, patients undergoing ultrasound scans receive an arm vein injection of a special contrast agent that does not contain dye and does not require ionizing radiation. CEUS imaging is FDA-approved in the United States for certain types of cardiac imaging but is approved in Europe, Canada, Asia and South America for pinpointing disease and tumors in other parts of the body as well.

“CEUS can offer a safe and cost effective means of improving the accuracy of ultrasound diagnoses,” according to Dr. Steven Feinstein, Director of Echocardiography at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, director of the conference, and co-president of the International Contrast Ultrasound Society.”

The society, which was launched in 2008, is the only international professional organization exclusively focused on CEUS. Its members include cardiologists, radiologists, and other medical imaging professionals and scientists from 55 countries.

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ICUS is the world’s only professional society exclusively devoted to contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) medical imaging technology.

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