Purpose: To evaluate the usefulness of measuring the diameter of the bowel using transabdominal ultrasound for the diagnosis of acute colitis.
Patients and Methods: Seventy patients with primary complaints of diarrhea, abdominal pain alone or in combination with fever, were studied for 40 months, from January 1998 to April 2001: Thirty-nine had ischemic colitis; 28, bacterial colitis; and 3, drug-associated colitis. Diagnoses were made using one or more of colonoscopy, biopsy, and stool culture examination. Ultrasound examination was carried out within 5 days of the onset of symptoms in all patients. The normal range in each colon segment, was measured in 23 healthy subjects, and no suppositories or laxatives were used before the examination. The diameter of the bowel was determined by measuring the distance from the high echo of the outside colon wall, which is thought to represent the serosa and the border echo, to the high echo of the opposing outside colon wall (Fig. 1). Statistically significant differences were determined using the unpaired t-test, Pearson's correlation coefficient or Spearman's rank correlation coefficient, and simple linear regression.
Results and Consideration: (1) The diameters of five segments of the colon of the 23 healthy subjects are shown in the Table. Correlation between wall thickness and colon diameter in acute colitis patients whose wall thickness could be measured was significant (pConclusion: Ultrasonography is useful for measuring the diameter of the bowel, which assists in the diagnosis of acute colitis and determination of the extent of the affected region.