Bowel MRI helps gauge quality of life in pediatric Crohn’s patients

Bowel MRI is an effective tool for assessing health-related quality of life measures in children and teenagers who suffer from Crohn’s disease, according to results of a study published online Feb. 3 in the journal Radiology.

Healthcare has recently seen an increased emphasis on self-reported patient outcomes for certain kinds of medical conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease. This includes health-related quality of life measures, which patients indicate to providers using a series of surveys and measurement tools.

While researchers have investigated the utility of these quality of life measures to some extent, little research has been done with regard to pediatric patients, according to lead author Jonathan Dillman, MD, and his colleagues from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

“Although there is a modest amount of published literature describing the use of [health-related quality of life] measures and utility instruments in adults with inflammatory bowel disease, there is a paucity of studies performed in children with inflammatory bowel disease and, in particular, small bowel Crohn disease,” they wrote.

Dilllman and his team set out to investigate self-reported quality of life measures from pediatric patients. To do so, they studied the 26 children with newly diagnosed small bowel Crohn disease who were receiving infliximab therapy. The patients provided health-related quality of life measures and underwent bowel MRI examinations, with laboratory assessment at baseline and six months later. 

Their results showed a significant negative correlation with subject-reported quality of life and bowel wall enhancement in the arterial phase at contrast material–enhanced MRI, with no statistically significant relationship with other markers of active intestinal inflammation.

“A reduction in bowel wall enhancement in the arterial phase at contrast-enhanced imaging should be considered an important clinical end point for improving patient-reported [health-related quality of life],” the authors concluded, “and may also be a valuable outcome measure for clinical trials performed to assess new medical therapies in Crohn disease.”