Pancreatitis in patients with pancreas divisum: imaging features at MRI and MRCP

World J Gastroenterol. 2013 Aug 14;19(30):4907-16. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v19.i30.4907.


Aim: To determine the magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) features of pancreatitis with pancreas divisum (PD) and the differences vs pancreatitis without divisum.

Methods: Institutional review board approval was obtained and the informed consent requirement was waived for this HIPAA-compliant study. During one year period, 1439 consecutive patients underwent successful MRCP without injection of secretin and abdominal MRI studies for a variety of clinical indications using a 1.5 T magnetic resonance scanner. Two experienced radiologists retrospectively reviewed all the studies in consensus. Disputes were resolved via consultation with a third experienced radiologist. The assessment included presence and the imaging findings of PD, pancreatitis, and distribution of abnormalities. The pancreatitis with divisum constituted the study group while the pancreatitis without divisum served as the control group. MRCP and MRI findings were correlated with final diagnosis. Fisher exact tests and Pearson × 2 tests were performed.

Results: Pancreatitis was demonstrated at MRCP and MRI in 173 cases (38 cases with and 135 cases without divisum) among the 1439 consecutive cases. The recurrent acute pancreatitis accounted for 55.26% (21 of 38) in pancreatitis patients associated with PD, which was higher than 6.67% (9 of 135) in the control group, whereas the chronic pancreatitis was a dominant type in the control group (85.19%, 115 of 135) when compared to the study group (42.11%, 16 of 38) (χ(2) = 40.494, P < 0.0001). In cases of pancreatitis with PD, the dorsal pancreatitis accounted for a much higher percentage than that in pancreatitis without PD (17 of 38, 44.74% vs 30 of 135, 22.22%) (χ(2) = 7.257, P < 0.05).

Conclusion: MRCP and MRI can depict the features of pancreatitis associated with divisum. Recurrent acute pancreatitis and isolated dorsal involvement are more common in patients with divisum.

Keywords: Diagnosis; Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography; Magnetic resonance imaging; Pancreas divisum; Pancreatitis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Cholangiopancreatography, Magnetic Resonance*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreas / abnormalities*
  • Pancreas / pathology*
  • Pancreatic Ducts / abnormalities
  • Pancreatic Ducts / pathology
  • Pancreatitis / diagnosis*
  • Pancreatitis / pathology
  • Pancreatitis, Chronic / diagnosis
  • Pancreatitis, Chronic / pathology
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult