Monitoring of gallbladder and gastric coordination by EPI

J Magn Reson Imaging. 2005 Jan;21(1):82-5. doi: 10.1002/jmri.20223.


Purpose: To assess for the first time the potential of echo-planar magnetic resonance imaging (EPI) for measuring simultaneously both gallbladder and gastric emptying.

Materials and methods: Eight healthy subjects ingested 500 mL of an acid-stable liquid test meal containing 15% olive oil and flavoring. Every 20 minutes for three hours thereafter, a rapid EPI multislice set was acquired across the whole abdomen, using a dedicated whole-body 0.5-T EPI scanner.

Results: The bile in the gallbladder and the test meal in the stomach appeared bright in the EPI images, aiding localization and region of interest analysis. We measured the gallbladder emptying curve and fitted the data to a simple analytical model. The mean fasted gallbladder volume was 25 +/- 4 mL, comparable to previously published MRI and ultrasound values. Gastric emptying data fitted well to a linear model linear (R2 = 0.99), and we observed an exponential (R2 = 0.98) relationship between gallbladder and gastric volumes for the first 90 minutes.

Conclusion: This study shows the potential of EPI to monitor simultaneously and noninvasively the emptying of the gallbladder and of the gastric lumen. No contrast enhancing agents are needed. This method could overcome the limitations of previous gamma scintigraphy and ultrasound techniques.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Echo-Planar Imaging / methods*
  • Gallbladder Emptying / physiology*
  • Gastric Emptying / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Linear Models