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World J Radiol. 2018 Nov 28;10(11):143-149. doi: 10.4329/wjr.v10.i11.143.

Review of the role of abdominal imaging in irritable bowel syndrome.

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Department of Radiology, Cork University Hospital, Cork T12 DC4A, Ireland.
Department of Gastroenterology, Cork University Hospital, Cork T12 DC4A, Ireland.
Department of Radiology, Cork University Hospital, Cork T12 DC4A, Ireland.


The role of radiologic imaging in the investigation of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) remains a subject of debate and there is some evidence, from recent studies of utilization of imaging in IBS, which focused on associated costs and radiation exposure, that imaging is being used relatively widely in these patients. This review aims to assess current best evidence to accurately define the role of radiologic imaging in IBS patients. Primary and secondary literature searches were performed. Evidence suggests that the lack of "red flag" or alarm features in IBS patients should reassure the clinician that the diagnosis of IBS is correct and United States and United Kingdom guidelines recommend no radiologic imaging for IBS patients if alarm features are not present. In patients presenting with IBS symptoms and alarm features, radiologic testing may be used to exclude an alternative diagnosis and the imaging modality should be chosen based on the most likely alternative diagnosis.


Abdominal imaging; Irritable bowel syndrome; Rome criteria

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Conflict-of-interest statement: The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest regarding the publication of this paper.

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