Comparison of endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography with MR cholangiopancreatography in patients with pancreatitis

Radiology. 1999 Mar;210(3):605-10. doi: 10.1148/radiology.210.3.r99fe55605.


Purpose: To assess the usefulness of magnetic resonance (MR) cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) in the evaluation of disease in patients with acute or chronic pancreatitis.

Materials and methods: MR imaging was performed at 1.5 T in 39 patients with chronic (n = 30) or acute (n = 9) pancreatitis. The patients underwent a pancreas MR imaging protocol that included an MRCP sequence. Comparison was made with findings at endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), performed within 30 days. Three blinded readers used a scoring system to evaluate nine segments of the pancreatic and biliary ducts as depicted on the ERCP and MRCP images. MRCP image quality was also evaluated.

Results: Of 196 segments analyzed, 17 were not seen at MRCP (sensitivity, 91%). Of the segments visualized at MRCP, 14 were incorrectly characterized (accuracy, 92%). At MRCP, segments not detected or mischaracterized were either normal, slightly dilated, or narrowed. At ERCP, 42 segments in 19 patients were not visualized. MRCP findings were considered useful in all those cases. MRCP image quality was not interpretable in two cases due to artifacts.

Conclusion: Very good correlation between ERCP and MRCP findings was demonstrated. Both modalities failed to depict pathologic conditions depicted by the alternative method. MRCP may obviate ERCP, particularly in patients who cannot undergo ERCP or in whom ERCP has been unsuccessful.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Artifacts
  • Bile Ducts / pathology
  • Cholangiopancreatography, Endoscopic Retrograde*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Constriction, Pathologic / diagnosis
  • Constriction, Pathologic / diagnostic imaging
  • Dilatation, Pathologic / diagnosis
  • Dilatation, Pathologic / diagnostic imaging
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatic Ducts / diagnostic imaging
  • Pancreatic Ducts / pathology
  • Pancreatitis / diagnosis*
  • Pancreatitis / diagnostic imaging
  • Radiographic Image Enhancement
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Single-Blind Method