Background: Pediatric patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are at increased risk of gadolinium deposition given the potential need for multiple contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance enterography (MRE) exams over their lifetime. Objective: To determine whether gadolinium-based contrast agents are necessary in assessing active bowel inflammation on MRE in pediatric patients with known or suspected IBD. Materials and methods: We conducted a retrospective study of 77 patients (7–18 years; 68.8% male) with known (n=58) or suspected (n=19) IBD and endoscopy with biopsy performed within 30 days of MRE without and with contrast evaluated bowel and non-bowel findings. During three visual analysis sessions, two radiologists reviewed pre-, post-, and pre-/post-contrast MRE images. A third radiologist independently reviewed 27 studies to assess inter-reader reliability. We used Cohen kappa (κ), Fleiss kappa, (κF), McNemar test, and sensitivity and specificity to compare MRE readings to combined endoscopic/histopathological findings (the reference standard). Results: The pre- and pre-/post-contrast-enhanced MRE vs. combined endoscopic/histopathological results had moderate agreement (85.7%; κ 0.713, P<0.001; P-value 0.549). Compared to combined endoscopy/histopathology, pre- vs. pre-/post-contrast sensitivity (67%, confidence interval [CI] 0.53–0.79 vs. 67%, CI 0.53–0.79) and specificity (80%, CI 0.59–0.92 vs. 68%, CI 0.46–0.84) varied little (κ 0.42, P<0.001 and κ 0.32, P=0.003, respectively). The three readers had moderate agreement (85.2%; κ 0.695, P=0.001; P-value 0.625). More penetrating complications were identified following contrast administration (P-value 0.04). Conclusion: Use of a contrast agent does not improve the detection of active inflammation in the terminal ileum and colon compared to non-contrast MRE, although use of a contrast agent does aid in the detection of penetrating disease.
- Gadolinium-based contrast agent
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Magnetic resonance enterography