Comparison of three oral contrast preparations for magnetic resonance enterography in pediatric patients with known or suspected Crohn disease: a prospective randomized trial

  • Ravi V. GottumukkalaEmail author
  • Annette LaPointe
  • Donna Sargent
  • Michael S. Gee
Original Article



Oral contrast preparation is fundamental to ensuring diagnostic examination quality for magnetic resonance enterography (MRE), yet little is known about the relative palatability and tolerability of various oral contrast agents in pediatric patients with known or suspected inflammatory bowel disease.


We prospectively compared three MRE oral preparations in pediatric patients with known or suspected Crohn disease with respect to patient-reported tolerability and radiologist-determined small-bowel distension and opacification.

Materials and methods

Seventy-five pediatric patients (mean age 14.8 years, 55% female) with known or suspected Crohn disease referred for MRE were randomized to an oral preparation with a sugar alcohol-based flavored beverage (Breeza), polyethylene glycol preparation (MiraLAX), or low-concentration barium sulfate suspension (VoLumen). Patients were instructed to consume oral contrast agent (using a weight-based protocol) beginning 60 min prior to MRE imaging. Following MRE, patients completed a questionnaire regarding their oral preparation solution including: taste (1–5 scale), feeling of well-being (1–5 scale) and willingness to consume again (yes/no). Two radiologists reviewed all MRE exams and rated exams for global features (active disease, overall small-bowel distention [1–4 scale]) and features specific to individual small-bowel segments (extent of distention, maximal luminal diameter, opacification, and susceptibility artifact). Statistical methods included one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) with Tukey honest difference and Fisher exact tests.


The overall rate of completion of the entire prescribed contrast volume was 53% (40/75), with a significantly higher rate of completion for MiraLAX than for VoLumen (70% vs. 30%, P=0.007). Crossover to a different preparation occurred in nine patients (12%) and was significantly more frequent when the initial preparation was VoLumen versus MiraLAX (29% vs. 0%, P=0.005). Mean subjective taste ratings for both MiraLAX (3.4, P<0.0001) and Breeza (2.8, P=0.006) were superior to those of VoLumen (1.9), which persisted in the subset of patients with MRE evidence of active Crohn disease. Patients who consumed MiraLAX were more likely to be willing to drink it again compared to those consuming VoLumen (82% vs. 46%, P=0.009). Overall small-bowel distention and bowel-segment-specific metrics (distention, maximal diameter, opacification and susceptibility) did not significantly differ among groups.


In pediatric patients with known or suspected Crohn disease, MiraLAX and Breeza were rated as more palatable than VoLumen, and all three preparations achieved a similar degree of small-bowel distension and opacification on MRE. Imaging centers performing MRE should stock multiple oral contrast preparations because a sizable proportion of children require more than one agent to ingest the requisite oral contrast volume.


Adolescents Children Crohn disease Inflammatory bowel disease Magnetic resonance enterography Oral contrast agent 



This work was presented as an oral presentation at the Society for Pediatric Radiology (SPR) 2018 annual meeting in Nashville, TN.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of RadiologyMassachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA

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