Comparison of contrast-enhanced CT with diffusion -weighted MRI in the Evaluation of patients with acute biliary pancreatitis

Turk J Surg. 2017 Sep 1;33(3):153-157. doi: 10.5152/UCD.2016.3573. eCollection 2017.


Objective: The aim of this study was to compare contrast-enhanced computed tomography with diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging in the evaluation of patients with acute biliary pancreatitis.

Material and methods: Fifty-three patients diagnosed with acute biliary pancreatitis, between February 2012 and July 2015, were evaluated using diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging and magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography to explain the elevation of cholestasis enzymes and bilirubin levels at "stanbul University. Contrast-enhanced computed tomography imaging was applied within 8 h following first evaluation. Demographic data, severity of pancreatitis, pancreatic apparent diffusion coefficient, and computed tomography severity index were compared. The significance of the results was evaluated using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences 21.0 program.

Results: Median age was 53.39 (22-90) years in these 53 patients (26 were males and 27 were females). The mean Ranson criterion was 0.96 (0-4) and mean hospitalization duration was 16.02 (3-100) days. Twenty-eight patients were evaluated to have mild acute pancreatitis, whereas 16 were moderately severe and nine were severe based on the Revised Atlanta Classification. Mild pancreatitis score was 0.89, moderately severe pancreatitis score was 3.50, and severe pancreatitis score was 5.78 using the Balthazar score. Elevated C-reactive protein levels were not correlated with necrosis and the clinical severity score (p>0.05). There was no significant difference among the Balthazar score, magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography-apparent diffusion coefficient score, and Revised Atlanta score in the evaluation of the severity of pancreatitis when the two techniques were compared. A statistically insignificant difference was found between the Balthazar score and magnetic resonance imaging results of clinically confirmed necrosis and non-necrosis patients.

Conclusion: It can be concluded that diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging might be better than contrast-enhanced computed tomography in the diagnosis of acute pancreatitis as it avoids radiation exposure as well as the development of renal failure and pancreatitis aggravation due to the use of contrast for computed tomography. These results need to be confirmed with randomized prospective controlled studies.

Keywords: DW MRI; contrast-enhanced computed tomography; pancreatitis; pancreatitis severity.