Real-time shear wave ultrasound elastography differentiates fibrotic from inflammatory strictures in patients with Crohn's disease

Yu Jun Chen, Ren Mao*, Xue Hua Li, Qing Hua Cao, Zhi Hui Chen, Bao Xian Liu, Shu Ling Chen, Bai Li Chen, Yao He, Zhi Rong Zeng, Shomron Ben-Horin, Jordi Rimola, Florian Rieder, Xiao Yan Xie, Min Hu Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and aim: The distinction of intestinal fibrosis from inflammation in Crohn's disease (CD) associated strictures has important therapeutic implications. Ultrasound elastography is useful in evaluating the degree of fibrosis in liver, but there is little evidence whether it can assess fibrosis in the bowel. We determined whether shear-wave elastography (SWE), a novel modification of elastography, quantifying tissue stiffness, could differentiate between inflammatory and fibrotic components in strictures of patients with CD. Methods: Consecutive CD patients with ileal/ileocolonic strictures who underwent SWE within 1 week to surgical resection were enrolled. The SWE value of the stenotic bowel wall was compared to the grade and severity of fibrosis and inflammation, respectively, in the resected bowel specimen. Results: Thirty-five patients were enrolled. The mean SWE value of stenotic bowel wall was significantly higher in severe fibrosis (23.0 ± 6.3 Kpa) than that in moderate (17.4 ± 3.8 Kpa) and mild fibrosis (14.4 ± 2.1 Kpa)(P = 0.008). Using 22.55 KPa as the cutoff value in discriminating between mild/moderate and severe fibrosis, the sensitivity and specificity was 69.6 % and 91.7% with an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.822 (P = 0.002). However, no significant difference regarding mean SWE existed among different grades of inflammation. The sensitivity and specificity of bowel vascularization score on conventional ultrasound in differentiating severe inflammation from mild/moderate was 87.5 % and 57.9% with AUC of 0.811 (P = 0.002). Combining SWE and conventional ultrasound (bowel vascularization score), we propose a bowel ultrasound classification of intestinal strictures. A moderate agreement between ultrasound and pathological classification was observed (κ = 0.536, P<0.001). Conclusions: This pilot study suggests that SWE is feasible and accurate in detecting intestinal fibrosis in patients with CD. After validation, combing SWE and bowel vascularization on conventional ultrasound might be applied to guide a management strategy in CD patients through defining the type of intestinal stricture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2183-2190
Number of pages8
JournalInflammatory Bowel Diseases
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2018


  • Crohn's disease
  • Elastography
  • Stricture


Dive into the research topics of 'Real-time shear wave ultrasound elastography differentiates fibrotic from inflammatory strictures in patients with Crohn's disease'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this