Secretin-stimulating MRCP in patients with pancreatobiliary maljunction and occult pancreatobiliary reflux: direct demonstration of pancreatobiliary reflux

Eur Radiol. 2007 Sep;17(9):2262-7. doi: 10.1007/s00330-007-0640-z. Epub 2007 Apr 20.


We propose the hypothesis that the enlargement of the common bile duct (CBD) or gallbladder (GB) that is occasionally demonstrated on magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) after secretin stimulation is caused by pancreatobiliary reflux. Recently, occult pancreatobiliary reflux (OPR) has been demonstrated in patients without morphological pancreatobiliary maljunction (MPBM). The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of secretin-stimulating MRCP (SMRCP) in the diagnosis of pancreatobiliary reflux. The study included 14 patients with MPBM and 32 patients with a normal pancreatobiliary junction. OPR was evaluated by bile collection and diagnosed in seven of the 32 patients. All the patients underwent SMRCP; the related findings were considered positive when enlargement of the CBD or GB was observed. Positive findings on SMRCP were observed in all MPBM patients. In the patients with normal pancreatobiliary junction, there was significant difference between the mean amylase levels in the patients with positive and negative SMRCP findings (mean, 4,755.7 and 29.7 IU/l). The sensitivity and specificity of SMRCP for diagnosing OPR was 85.7% and 68.0%, respectively. SMRCP provides a non invasive method for excluding PBR and can identify patients who could benefit from bile duct sampling to diagnose OPR.

MeSH terms

  • Amylases / analysis
  • Bile Ducts / pathology*
  • Bile Reflux / diagnosis*
  • Bile Reflux / physiopathology
  • Cholangiopancreatography, Magnetic Resonance*
  • Female
  • Gallbladder Diseases / diagnosis
  • Gallbladder Diseases / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pancreatic Diseases / diagnosis
  • Pancreatic Diseases / physiopathology
  • Pancreatic Ducts / pathology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Secretin
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Secretin
  • Amylases