CT in the clinical and prognostic evaluation of acute graft-vs-host disease of the gastrointestinal tract

A. Shimoni, U. Rimon, M. Hertz, R. Yerushalmi, M. Amitai, O. Portnoy, L. Guranda, A. Nagler, Sara Apter*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To determine the role of abdominal CT in assessment of severity and prognosis of patients with acute gastrointestinal (GI) graft-vs-host disease (GVHD). Methods: During 2000-2004, 41 patients with a clinical diagnosis of acute GI-GVHD were evaluated. CTs were examined for intestinal and extra-intestinal abnormalities, and correlated with clinical staging and outcome. Results: 20 patients had GVHD clinical Stage I-II and 21 had Stage III-IV. 39 (95%) had abnormal CT appearances. The most consistent finding was bowel wall thickening: small (n=14, 34%) or large (n=5, 12%) bowel, or both (n=20, 49%). Other manifestations included bowel dilatation (n=7, 17%),mucosal enhancement (n=6, 15%) and gastric wall thickening (n=9, 38%). Extra-intestinal findings included mesenteric stranding (n=25, 61%), ascites (n=17, 41%), biliary abnormalities (n=12, 29%) and urinary excretion of orally administered gastrografin (n=12, 44%). Diffuse small-bowel thickening and any involvement of the large bowel were associated with severe clinical presentation. Diffuse small-bowel disease correlated with poor prognosis. 8 of 21 patients responded to therapy, compared with 15 of 20 patients with other patterns (p=0.02), and the cumulative incidence of GVHD-related death was 62% and 24%, respectively (p=0.01). Overall survival was not significantly different between patients with diffuse small-bowel disease and patientswith other patterns (p=0.31). Colonic disease correlatedwith severity of GVHD (p=0.04), but not with response to therapy or prognosis (p=0.45). Conclusion: GVHD often presented with abdominal CT abnormalities. Diffuse small-bowel disease was associated with poor therapeutic response. CT may play a role in supporting clinical diagnosis of GI GVHD and determining prognosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e416-e423
JournalBritish Journal of Radiology
Issue number1016
StatePublished - Aug 2012


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