A novel identification system combining diffusion kurtosis imaging with conventional magnetic resonance imaging to assess intestinal strictures in patients with Crohn’s disease
© 2020, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature. Purpose: To determine the utility of diffusion kurtosis imaging (DKI) for assessing bowel fibrosis and to establish a new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based classification based on DKI and conventional MRI parameters for characterizing intestinal strictures in Crohn’s disease (CD) using the histological evaluation of resected intestine samples as the reference standard. Methods: Thirty-one patients with CD undergoing preoperative conventional MRI and diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) (b values = 0–2000 s/mm2) were consecutively enrolled. We classified the mural T2-weighted signal intensity and arterial-phase enhancement patterns on conventional MRI. We also measured DWI-derived apparent diffusion coefficients (ADCs) and DKI-derived apparent diffusion for non-Gaussian distribution (Dapp) and apparent diffusional kurtosis (Kapp). A new MRI-based classification was established to characterize intestinal strictures in CD. Its performance was validated in nine additional patients with CD. Results: Histological inflammation grades were significantly correlated to T2-weighted signal intensity (r = 0.477; P < 0.001) and ADC (r = − 0.226; P = 0.044). Histological fibrosis grades were moderately correlated to Kapp (r = 0.604, P < 0.001); they were also correlated to Dapp (r = − 0.491; P < 0.001) and ADC (r = − 0.270; P = 0.015). T2-weighted signal intensity could differentiate between no-to-mild and moderate-to-severe bowel inflammation (sensitivity, 0.970; specificity, 0.479). Kapp could differentiate between no-to-mild and moderate-to-severe bowel fibrosis (sensitivity, 0.959; specificity, 0.781). The agreement between the new MRI-based classification and the histological classification was moderate in the test (κ = 0.507; P < 0.001) and validation (κ = 0.530; P < 0.001) sets. Conclusions: DKI can be used to assess bowel fibrosis. The new MRI-based classification can help to distinguish between fibrotic and inflammatory intestinal strictures in patients with CD.