Detection of biliary complications after orthotopic liver transplantation with MR cholangiography

Magn Reson Imaging. 2001 Oct;19(8):1097-105. doi: 10.1016/s0730-725x(01)00443-x.


To assess the diagnostic value of magnetic resonance cholangiography (MRC) when evaluating biliary complications in the follow-up of liver transplant patients. One hundred and thirteen patients prospectively underwent MR imaging and MR cholangiography at 1.5-T unit after orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT). After the acquisition of axial T1- and T2-weighted sequences, MRC involved a coronal, non breath-hold, respiratory-triggered, fat-suppressed, two-dimensional, thin-slab, heavily T2-weighted fast spin-echo sequence, and coronal breath-hold, thick-slab, single-shot T2-weighted sequences. The images and maximum intensity projections were evaluated by two readers in order to determine biliary anatomy and the presence of complications, whose final diagnosis was based on endoscopic retrograde cholangiography (ERC) in 50 patients, percutaneous trans-hepatic cholangiography (PTC) in five, and by integrating clinical follow-up with ultrasound and MR findings in 58 cases. MRC had a sensitivity of 93%, a specificity of 92%, a positive predictive value of 86%, a negative predictive value of 96%, and a global diagnostic accuracy of 93% in detecting all types of biliary complications in OLT patients. MRC is a reliable technique for detecting post-OLT biliary complications. We now restrict the use of ERC to patients for whom therapeutic procedures are advocated or whose MRC results are equivocal.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bile Duct Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Bile Duct Diseases / etiology
  • Bile Ducts / pathology
  • Cholangiography*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity