Quantitative MRCP assessment of pancreatic exocrine reserve and its correlation with faecal elastase-1 in patients with chronic pancreatitis

Radiol Med. 2012 Mar;117(2):282-92. doi: 10.1007/s11547-011-0774-6. Epub 2012 Jan 7.


Purpose: This retrospective study was done to correlate a quantitative assessment of the pancreatic exocrine reserve by dynamic secretin magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCPQ) with the faecal elastase-1 (FE-1) test in patients with chronic pancreatitis.

Materials and methods: Thirty-five patients with a clinical diagnosis of chronic (CP) or acute recurrent (ARP) pancreatitis were enrolled. FE-1 was indicative of the pancreatic exocrine reserve. Subsequently, the patient population was subdivided into two groups according to a clinical threshold value of 200 μg/g. All patients underwent MRCP examination during secretin administration. Duodenal filling volume was calculated on T2-weigthed rapid acquisition with relaxation enhancement (RARE) MRCP images obtained 10 min after secretin injection. Duodenal filling volumes were compared with FE-1 values. Scatter plots, Pearson correlation coefficient and the Mann-Whitney U test were performed.

Results: Thirty-five paired MRCPQ-FE1 data sets were analysed. MRCPQ was significantly different (p=0.007) between patients with impaired and preserved pancreatic function; median and interquartile range (IQR) were 150.7 ml (137.3-205.5 ml; n=9) and 332.4 ml (190.6-506.9 ml; n=26). Both Pearson correlation coefficient (p<0.001) and the Mann-Whitney U test (p=0.007) were significant.

Conclusions: MRCPQ significantly correlates with FE-1 values. It is possible to discriminate impaired and preserved pancreatic exocrine function using MRCPQ.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cholangiopancreatography, Magnetic Resonance / methods
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Feces / enzymology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatic Elastase / analysis
  • Pancreatic Function Tests / methods*
  • Pancreatitis, Chronic / physiopathology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Secretin
  • Statistics, Nonparametric


  • Secretin
  • Pancreatic Elastase