Background: Small bowel contrast radiography is often suggested as the first diagnostic tool in evaluating pediatric inflammatory bowel disease. The purpose of this study was to determine the sensitivity and specificity of small bowel radiography compared with terminal ileal biopsies in diagnosing pediatric inflammatory bowel disease, and to determine the success rate and safety of terminal ileum intubation during pediatric colonoscopy.
Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the records of 164 subjects who had colonoscopies with terminal ileal biopsies between 1994 and 1996. Small bowel contrast radiography was performed in 84 subjects within two weeks of the colonoscopy. We also reviewed all the colonoscopy reports from the years 1994 to 1996 and 1999 to 2000 to determine the percentage of terminal ileal intubation.
Results: Eighty-four subjects with small bowel contrast radiography and terminal ileal biopsies were reviewed. Using small bowel radiography as a screening test for the diagnosis of terminal ileum inflammatory bowel disease resulted in a sensitivity of 45% (17/37) and a specificity of 96% (17/19). Between the years 1994 and 1996 the percentage of pediatric colonoscopies that resulted in terminal ileal intubation was 21.5%; between the years 1999 and 2000 the percentage increased to 65.6%.
Conclusions: A normal small bowel radiography alone should not be used to rule out pediatric inflammatory bowel disease when the symptoms suggest it. Colonoscopy with terminal ileal intubation is feasible and safe; it should be attempted in all children with symptoms consistent with inflammatory bowel disease.
*Division of Gastroenterology & Nutrition, †Department of Pathology and ‡Department of Radiology, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Received October 29, 2001; accepted April 15, 2002.
Address correspondence and reprint requests to Robert N. Baldassano, MD, Division of GI and Nutrition, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, 34th and Civic Center Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA 19104, U.S.A. (e-mail: email@example.com).