Portal vein and its tributaries: evaluation with thin-section three-dimensional contrast-enhanced dynamic fat-suppressed MR imaging

Radiology. 2000 May;215(2):381-6. doi: 10.1148/radiology.215.2.r00ap04381.


Purpose: To evaluate the visibility of the main portal vein (MPV) and its tributaries in healthy subjects at thin-section three-dimensional (3D) contrast material-enhanced dynamic fat-suppressed magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and to determine whether this technique provides useful information in the evaluation of patients with cirrhosis.

Materials and methods: Seventy-two patients (37 control subjects, 35 patients with cirrhosis) underwent imaging with a high-performance-gradient (25 mT/m) system.

Results: In the 37 subjects in the control group, the MPV was visualized in 37; splenic vein (SV), in 37; superior mesenteric vein (SMV), in 37; inferior mesenteric vein (IMV), in 35; posterior superior pancreaticoduodenal vein (PSPDV), in 35; gastrocolic trunk (GT), in 34; right gastroepiploic vein (RGEV), in 31; right colic vein, in 30; anterior superior pancreaticoduodenal vein, in 22; middle colic vein (MCV), in 29; and first jejunal vein (FJV), in 36. Satisfactory visualization (mean ratings of 2 or higher) was achieved in the MPV, SV, SMV, IMV, PSPDV, GT, RGEV, and FJV in the control group. Mean diameters of the SV, SMV, MCV, and FJV were significantly larger in the cirrhosis group than in the control group (P <.001, P <.001, P =.048, and P =.002, respectively).

Conclusion: Thin-section 3D contrast-enhanced dynamic fat-suppressed MR imaging can facilitate precise visualization of the MPV and its tributaries. Dilatation of the tributaries may be a nonspecific secondary finding that is suggestive of cirrhosis.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Colon / blood supply
  • Contrast Media*
  • Dilatation, Pathologic / diagnosis
  • Duodenum / blood supply
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Jejunum / blood supply
  • Liver Cirrhosis / diagnosis
  • Liver Cirrhosis / pathology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Mesenteric Veins / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Omentum / blood supply
  • Pancreas / blood supply
  • Portal Vein / pathology*
  • Splenic Vein / pathology
  • Stomach / blood supply
  • Veins / pathology


  • Contrast Media