Endoscopic ultrasound proves to be safe and effective in children

June 9, 2008

Endoscopic ultrasound, a common test for adults, is rarely used on children. Researchers in Israel who studied the efficacy of the test on these smaller patients have found it to be a safe and effective tool for diagnosing pediatric gastroenterology patients.

Endoscopic ultrasound, a common test for adults, is rarely used on children. Researchers in Israel who studied the efficacy of the test on these smaller patients have found it to be a safe and effective tool for diagnosing pediatric gastroenterology patients.

Dr. Shlomi Cohen and colleagues in the Pediatric Gastroenterology Unit at Dana's Children's Hospital in Tel Aviv used endoscopic ultrasound to examine 21 boys and 11 girls at their facility over six years. The patients ranged from 1.5 years old to 18 years old, with a mean age of 12.

For 19 children, the test was conducted to examine the biliary tract and pancreas. Nine of the 19 showed evidence of recurrent pancreatitis, six had a mass or cyst, and four had obstructive jaundice.

Endoscopic ultrasound was used to examine the esophagus in eight children. Four of these had a stenosis, while two had an esophageal mass, and two had suspected duplication cysts.

The other five patients underwent two exams of the stomach, two of the rectum, and one of the duodenum. In total, 18 children were examined while under conscious sedation, 12 were under unconscious sedation, and two had no anesthesia. The researchers also performed endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration during the exam in seven cases.

None of the 32 exams had complications, and all were considered successful. The endoscopic ultrasound results changed the diagnosis or therapy in 14 cases.

The researchers concluded that endoscopic ultrasound is a safe, effective way to examine pediatric patients, especially those with pancreatobiliary or esophageal disorders. They note that it had a significant impact in nearly half the patients in their practice and consider it a very useful test.