Short Clinical Reviews

Integrating intestinal ultrasound into inflammatory bowel disease training and practice in the United States


Evolving endpoints and treat-to-target strategies in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) incorporate a need for more frequent assessments of the disease, including objective measures of inflammation.1,2 Intestinal ultrasound (IUS) is a noninvasive, well-tolerated,3 repeatable, point-of-care (POC) test that is highly sensitive and specific in detection of bowel inflammation, transmural healing,4,5 and response to therapy in both Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC).6-8 These unique features allow IUS to be an optimal tool for the current era of disease modification and tight disease control in IBD. As IUS is taking hold in the United States, there is a great need to teach the next generation of gastroenterologists about its value, how to incorporate it into clinical practice, and how to become appropriately trained and maintain competency.

Why incorporate IUS in the United States now?

Dr. Noa Krugliak Cleveland, a gastroenterology specialist at the University of Chicago Jordan Porter-Woodruff/University of Chicago

Dr. Noa Krugliak Cleveland

As IBD management has evolved, so has the appreciation for the value of bedside IUS as a tool that addresses very real needs for the field. Unlike other parts of the world in which ultrasound skills are part of the training curriculum, this has not been the case in internal medicine and gastroenterology training in the United States. In addition, there have been no specific billing codes or clear renumeration processes outlined for IUS,9 nor have there been any local training opportunities. Because of these challenges, it was not until recently that several leaders in IBD in the United States championed the potential of this technology and incorporated it into IBD management. Subsequently, a number of gastroenterologists have been trained and are now leading the effort to disseminate this tool throughout the United States. A consequence of these efforts resulted in support from the Helmsley Charitable Trust (Helmsley) and the creation of the Intestinal Ultrasound Group of the United States and Canada to address the gaps unique to North America as well as to strengthen the quality of IUS research through collaborations across the continent.


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