Recent advances in multidetector computed tomography (CT) with enteric contrast and appropriate distension offer improved visualization of the small-bowel wall, lumen, and adjacent structures. These advances are changing diagnostic approaches to patients with common small bowel disorders. Practitioners of evidence-based medicine require accurate, reliable information from clinical research to determine the optimal diagnostic approach. Evidence-based medicine relies on the systematic review to gather and interpret available and relevant clinical research. Systematic reviews treat the review process as a scientific endeavor, using pre-determined transparent methods to critically evaluate study quality and pool results from individual studies to minimize bias in the analysis. This article will identify and summarize the best available research from systematic reviews that address the use of multidetector CT modalities for managing common disorders of the small bowel—Crohn’s disease and obscure gastrointestinal bleeding caused by small bowel tumors and angiodysplasias.
After reading this article, the participant should be able to:
- Discuss the rationale for using multidetector CT in patients with Crohn’s disease.
- Explain the rationale for using multidetector CT to evaluate obscure gastrointestinal bleeding.
- Summarize the limitations of the evidence base for CT imaging of the small bowel in Crohn’s disease and obscure gastrointestinal bleeding.
- Examine recommendations for future research.