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UChicago Medicine trains physicians on ‘game-changing’ intestinal ultrasound

Photo caption:  Noa Krugliak Cleveland, MD (pictured), and David T. Rubin, MD, will co-direct UChicago Medicine’s training course on intestinal ultrasound (IUS).

By, Jamie Bartosch, UChicago Medicine

A select group of gastroenterologists from around the world will gather at the University of Chicago Medicine March 16-18 for demonstrations and training on how to perform intestinal ultrasound (IUS). The groundbreaking procedure provides a fast, real-time, noninvasive look at what’s happening in the intestines for a variety of conditions, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

UChicago Medicine is the second hospital in the country to offer intestinal ultrasounds to its Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) patients who would otherwise need colonoscopies or other tests and procedures to assess inflammation and monitor treatments.

Only a handful of doctors nationwide have been trained to perform and interpret IUS. Training was not available for American doctors until 2022, said gastroenterologist Noa Krugliak Cleveland, MD, director of UChicago Medicine’s Intestinal Ultrasound Program.

UChicago Medicine’s training course, in collaboration with the International Bowel Ultrasound Group, is made possible by a $1.7 million grant from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. Just 30 IBD physicians from a pool of 120 applicants were chosen to attend the three days of presentations, videos, and hands-on sessions with actual patients.

Krugliak Cleveland and David T. Rubin, MD, Chief of UChicago Medicine’s Section of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, joined their international colleagues and taught a previous session last September in New York. Another session is planned in March 2024 in Los Angeles.

“This technology is game-changing for our patients and for the field,” said Rubin, who is co-directing the Chicago course with Krugliak Cleveland.

IUS works similarly to a pregnancy ultrasound; gel is applied to the abdomen, then an ultrasound probe is used to see the bowel in real time. The procedure can be performed during a regular visit in the clinic room, allowing a doctor to instantly see if the bowel is inflamed or how a patient is responding to therapy.

“Prior to the availability of IUS, we relied on colonoscopy, CT scans, MRIs, blood or stool tests to assess for inflammation. These are invasive, expensive, inconvenient and time-consuming,” Krugliak Cleveland said. “Now, I can perform IUS as I am seeing a patient in clinic. Together, we see the bowel and make treatment decisions during the visit without delays. This is also the first time a procedure can predict response to a treatment as early as the first week of treatment.”

IUS does not require the colonoscopy and the colonoscopy prep that’s unpopular with patients. However, Kugliak Cleveland noted, colonoscopies are still needed for the screening and prevention of colorectal cancer.

More information on the event can be found here.

This article originally appeared on UChicago Medicine.

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