Pediatr Gastroenterol Hepatol Nutr.  2021 May;24(3):279-287. 10.5223/pghn.2021.24.3.279.

Bowel Wall Thickening on Computed Tomography in Children: A Novel Method of Measurement and Its Clinical Significance

  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Ewha Womans University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Department of Pediatrics, Kangnam Sacred Heart Hospital, Hallym University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 3Department of Radiology, Ewha Womans University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea


The clinical implications of bowel wall thickening (BWT) on abdominal computed tomography (CT) among children are unknown. We aimed to suggest a new method for measuring BWT and determining its clinical significance in children.
We retrospectively analyzed 423 patients with acute abdomen who underwent abdominal CT; 262 were classified into the BWT group. For this group, the pediatric radiologist described the maximal bowel wall thickness (MT), normal bowel wall thickness (mm) (NT), and their ratios for each segment of the bowel wall.
In the thickened bowel walls, the thickness differed significantly between the small bowel (6.83±2.14 mm; mean±standard deviation) and the colon (8.56±3.46 mm; p<0.001). The ratios of MT to NT in the small bowel (6.09±3.17) and the colon (7.58±3.70) were also significantly different (p<0.001). In the BWT group, 35 of 53 patients had positive fecal polymerase chain reaction results; 6 patients infected with viruses predominantly had BWT in the small intestine, while the terminal ileum and the colon were predominantly affected in 29 patients with bacterial infections. In the initially undiagnosed 158 patients with BWT, the symptoms improved spontaneously without progression to chronic gastrointestinal disease.
This study provides a clinical reference value for BWT in the small intestine and colon using a new method in children. The BWT on abdominal CT in children might indicate nonspecific findings that can be observed and followed up without additional evaluation, unlike in adults.


Bowel wall thickening; Abdominal pain; Multidetector computed tomography; Child
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