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Radiol Med. 2009 Apr;114(3):390-402. doi: 10.1007/s11547-009-0374-x. Epub 2009 Mar 5.

Comparative diagnostic evaluation with MR cholangiopancreatography, ultrasonography and CT in patients with pancreatobiliary disease.

[Article in English, Italian]

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Dipartimento di Scienze Biomorfologiche e Funzionali (DSBMF), Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Istituto di Biostrutture e Bioimmagini, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), Italy.



The aim of this study was to directly compare the results of magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) with those of ultrasonography (US) and multislice computed tomography (MSCT) in the diagnosis of pancreaticobiliary diseases.


A total of 70 patients (41 men, 29 women) aged 22-89 years were studied either before (n=59) or after cholecystectomy (n=11) for biliary lithiasis. Clinical signs and symptoms were jaundice (n=15), abdominal pain (n=37) and proven biliary lithiasis (n=18). MRCP was performed in all patients, whereas abdominal US was performed in 55 (group 1) and MSCT in 37 (group 2) patients. A regional evaluation of the main structures of the pancreaticobiliary system was performed: gallbladder and cystic duct, intra- and extrahepatic bile ducts and main pancreatic duct. Histology (n=27), biopsy (n=5), endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) (n=28) and/or clinical-imaging follow-up (n=10) were considered standards of reference. In particular, patients were classified as showing benign (n=47) or malignant (n=12) lesions or normal biliary anatomy (n=11).


In group 1, the results of MRCP and US were concordant in the majority (92%) of cases; however, statistically significant discordance (p<0.01) was found in the evaluation of the extrahepatic ducts, with nine cases (16%) of middle-distal common bile duct stones being detected on MRCP only. In group 2, the results of MRCP and MSCT were also concordant in most cases (87%). However, findings were significantly discordant when the intra- and extrahepatic ducts were analysed, with seven (19%) and six (16%) cases, respectively, of lithiasis being detected on MRCP only (p<0.01 for both).


The results of our study confirm the diagnostic potential of MRCP in the study of the pancreaticobiliary duct system. In particular, the comparison between MRCP and US and MSCT indicates the superiority of MRCP in evaluating bile ducts and detecting stones in the common bile duct.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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