Purpose: Determining the integrity of the pancreatic duct is important in high-grade pancreatic trauma to guide decision making for operative vs non-operative management. Computed tomography (CT) is generally an inadequate study for this purpose, and magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) is sometimes obtained to gain additional information regarding the duct. The purpose of this multi-institutional study was to directly compare the results from CT and MRCP for evaluating pancreatic duct disruption in children with these rare injuries.
Methods: Retrospective study of data obtained from eleven pediatric trauma centers from 2010 to 2015. Children up to age 18 with suspected blunt pancreatic duct injury who had both CT and MRCP within 1 week of injury were included. Imaging findings of both studies were directly compared and analyzed using descriptive statistics, Chi square, Wilcoxon rank-sum, and McNemar's tests.
Results: Data were collected for 21 patients (mean age 7.8 years). The duct was visualized more often on MRCP than CT (48 vs 5%, p < 0.05). Duct disruption was confirmed more often on MRCP than CT (24 vs 0%), suspected based on secondary findings equally (38 vs 38%), and more often indeterminate on CT (62 vs 38%). Overall, MRCP was not superior to CT for determining duct integrity (62 vs 38%, p = 0.28).
Conclusions: In children with blunt pancreatic injury, MRCP is more useful than CT for identifying the pancreatic duct but may not be superior for confirmation of duct integrity. Endoscopic retrograde cholangiogram (ERCP) may be necessary to confirm duct disruption when considering pancreatic resection.
Level of evidence: III.
Keywords: CT; Diagnostic imaging; MRCP; Pancreatic trauma; Pediatrics.