MR hydrometry to assess exocrine function of the pancreas: initial results of noninvasive quantification of secretion

Radiology. 2001 Jan;218(1):61-7. doi: 10.1148/radiology.218.1.r01ja2061.


Purpose: To evaluate magnetic resonance (MR) hydrometry, a method of quantifying fluid amounts by using MR imaging, for assessing the exocrine function of the pancreas after stimulation with secretin.

Materials and methods: Images were obtained with a single-shot turbo spin-echo sequence by using a 1.0-T magnet with a quadrature body coil. Image postprocessing and evaluation were performed at an external workstation by using a specially designed histogram algorithm that translates the MR signal intensity of duodenal filling into an actual amount of duodenal fluid. This algorithm was tested in vitro and in vivo. Finally, MR hydrometry results in five patients were correlated with those of the secretin-cerulein test.

Results: The phantom measurements showed a high correlation (r = 0.99) between the actual amount of fluid in the imaging volume and the calculated results. In vivo, the ability of MR hydrometry to enable exact quantification of fluid amounts was demonstrated. In correlating the signal intensity of duodenal filling with the exact amount of additional fluid in the duodenum in volunteers, a coefficient of 0.043 gray tones per pixel per milliliter was calculated. The correlation (r) between secretin-stimulated duodenal fluid output estimated by using tube aspiration and that estimated by using MR hydrometry was 0.946 (P <.05).

Conclusion: MR hydrometry is a promising noninvasive method of assessing fluid output as a measure of exocrine pancreatic function.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging* / methods
  • Pancreas / anatomy & histology*
  • Pancreas / metabolism*
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Secretin


  • Secretin