Intestinal Ultrasound and its Application as Point-of-Care Procedure for Diagnosing and Detecting Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Related Complications: A Narrative Review

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Antonio Rispo Anna Testa Olga Maria Nardone Alessia Dalila Guarino Nicola Imperatore Giuseppe Fierro Fabiana Castiglione Giulio Calabrese


Inflammatory bowel disease, comprising Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, defines as an idiopathic, chronic, relapsing, inflammatory disease affecting the gastrointestinal tract and leading to chronic damage. Endoscopy with biopsies is considered the gold standard for inflammatory bowel disease diagnosis, whereas magnetic resonance for Crohn’s disease extension and complication assessment. However, colonoscopy is an invasive procedure, while magnetic resonance is relatively not easily accessible for patients; thus, the need for a reliable, accessible and non-invasive way to perform inflammatory bowel diseases diagnosis and monitoring in the tight control era, like intestinal ultrasound is. Compared to endoscopy and magnetic resonance, ultrasound has shown reliable diagnostic accuracy in assessing Crohn’s disease diagnosis and evaluation of localisation, extension and complications. On the other hand, intestinal ultrasound is emerging as a valid tool also for ulcerative colitis severity and extension assessment. Moreover, performing ultrasonography in a point-of-care setting can guide the clinician in driving the diagnostic and therapeutic pathway, thus accelerating clinical decisions. As a novelty, point-of-care intestinal ultrasound performed with pocket devices could represent a promising item for the future of physical examination in outpatient or inpatient examination. The need for reproducibility of intestinal ultrasound among sonographers has emerged as a key-point in inflammatory bowel disease research field: the development of new scores for the evaluation of disease severity together with an intensive dedicated trainship could potentially reduce the differences between clinicians reporting.

Accordingly, our aim was to perform a narrative review about the application of intestinal ultrasound in Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis diagnosis and monitoring. Furthermore, technical aspects of this imaging technique and its application in a point-of-care setting through traditional and handheld sonographers were explored.

Keywords: IBD, Crohn, Ulcerative colitis, diagnosis, intestinal ultrasonography, POCIUS

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How to Cite
RISPO, Antonio et al. Intestinal Ultrasound and its Application as Point-of-Care Procedure for Diagnosing and Detecting Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Related Complications: A Narrative Review. Medical Research Archives, [S.l.], v. 11, n. 10, oct. 2023. ISSN 2375-1924. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 13 july 2024. doi:
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