The aim of our prospective randomized study was to assess diagnostic quality and stability of bowel distension in patients with Crohn’s disease (CD) and healthy volunteers subjected to synchronous magnetic resonance enterography and colonography (MREC), as well as to test the role of water enema and intravenous spasmolytics. The influence of gastric content, age, gender, and body mass on bowel distension was also evaluated.
Study groups included 164 CD patients and 53 healthy volunteers. After bowel preparation, randomized subgroups started ingestion ≥1000 mL of hyperosmolar solution within 30, 45, 60, 75, and 90 min before admission to MRI, respectively. Patients were examined in prone position and water enema was applied. Spasmolytics were administered prior to I.V. gadolinium. Distension of five bowel segments was independently assessed by two experienced radiologists.
MREC yields diagnostic distension of the jejunum in 81.1 % and 79.2 % patients in the CD group and controls, respectively. For the terminal ileum it was >94 % in both groups. Good and excellent distension was achieved in other bowel segments. Distension was maintained up to 75 min from the start of oral ingestion. Water enema and spasmolytics significantly and independently improved distension of the small bowel. Distension of the cecum after spasmolytics was decreased. Gastric content, age, gender and body mass had no significant influence of bowel distension.
MREC enables diagnostic distension of the colon and ileum (including terminal segment) in CD patients and healthy volunteers and diagnostically acceptable distension of the jejunum.

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