Nonspecific ileitis: Impact of histopathology and gastrointestinal ultrasound in achieving the diagnosis of Crohn's disease

Rebecca L. Smith, Kirstin M. Taylor, Antony B. Friedman, Ammar Majeed, Natalie Perera, Peter R. Gibson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background and Aim: Nonspecific ileitis is inflammation of the ileum without specific diagnostic features. A minority may go on to develop Crohn's disease, but optimal pathways of further investigation have not been established. This study aimed to identify a cohort of patients with nonspecific ileitis and to determine the value of ileal histology and gastrointestinal ultrasound in identifying/excluding Crohn's disease. Patients and Methods: In a retrospective analysis, all patients having nonspecific ileitis at colonoscopy from January 2010 to August 2021 were identified. Clinical associations with those subsequently diagnosed with Crohn's disease were examined with specific reference to ileal histology and gastrointestinal ultrasound. Results: Of 29 638 procedures, 147 patients (0.5%) had nonspecific ileitis. Crohn's disease was subsequently diagnosed in 8 patients (5.4%) at a median of 148 (range 27–603) days after colonoscopy. The presence of chronic inflammation on ileal biopsies was more common in those subsequently diagnosed with Crohn's disease (63% vs 20%; P = 0.0145). On gastrointestinal ultrasound, none of the 26 patients with normal bowel wall thickness (<3 mm) were subsequently diagnosed with Crohn's disease, and repeat ultrasound in 15 patients 1 year later showed no change. Of the nine patients with abnormal sonographic findings, three were diagnostic for Crohn's disease. Repeat ultrasound revealed Crohn's disease in two, while four had resolution of the abnormal findings. Conclusion: Although ileal histology was of limited value in identifying patients with nonspecific ileitis who were subsequently diagnosed with Crohn's disease, gastrointestinal ultrasound was highly informative. Prospective studies are needed to confirm the value of gastrointestinal ultrasound as a diagnostic and monitoring tool in this setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)388-394
Number of pages7
JournalJGH Open
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • gastroenterology
  • IBD: clinical trials
  • imaging and advanced technology/applied therapeutics
  • intestinal disorders
  • screening and diagnosis

Cite this