Ionizing radiation exposure in patients with inflammatory bowel disease: Are we overexposing our patients?

Camila Estay, Daniela Simian, Jaime Lubascher, Carolina Figueroa, Andrés O'Brien, Rodrigo Quera*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Objective: Imaging techniques are accurate and reliable in diagnosing inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). However, the main disadvantage of computed tomography (CT) compared with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is radiation exposure and the potential risk of cancer, especially since IBD patients are at increased risk of malignancies. This study aims to quantify and characterize effective radiation exposure of IBD patients. Methods: A cohort of IBD patients were retrospectively enrolled in the Clínica las Condes IBD registry between 2011 and 2013. High cumulative radiation exposure (CED) was defined as ≥-50 mSv. Results: A total of 325 IBD patients were enrolled in our registry, including 243 (74.8%) with UC and 82 (25.2%) with CD. The patients with CD were more commonly to reach a high CED seen compared with those with UC (19.5% vs 2.5%). Higher exposure to radiation was associated with longer duration of disease, ileal involvement, stricturing behavior, treatments with steroids and biological agents and CD-related hospitalization or surgery. Abdominopelvic CT and enteroclysis CT accounted for 93.6% of total CED. Conclusions: A high percentage of IBD patients are exposed to high CED. Radiation-free cross-sectional examinations, such as MRI, should be used, especially in young patients, those who have undergone prior surgery and those with severe IBD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-89
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Digestive Diseases
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Chinese Medical Association Shanghai Branch, Chinese Society of Gastroenterology, Renji Hospital Affiliated to Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine and Wiley Publishing Asia Pty Ltd.


  • Abdominal computed tomography
  • Crohn's disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Magnetic resonance enterography
  • Radiation exposure


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