Objective: Images of breath-hold MR cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) using HASTE (half-Fourier acquisition single-shot turbo spin-echo) sequences were taken in healthy volunteers. The technique was then evaluated as a noninvasive alternative to direct cholangiopancreatography in patients with pancreaticobiliary diseases.
Subjects and methods: Forty healthy volunteers and 56 patients with various pancreaticobiliary diseases were examined by MRCP using HASTE with 128 echo train lengths on a 1.5-T MR unit. A body phased-array coll was used for data collection. Imaging times were 2 sec for the single-slice technique with a 20-mm slice thickness and 18 sec for sequential acquisition by the multislice technique with a 5-mm slice thickness (effective TE, 87 msec). We used the healthy volunteers to determine our ability to detect normal structures. The results obtained by HASTE for both patient groups were correlated with imaging by percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography or endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography.
Results: In all healthy volunteers, HASTE-MRCP showed both the common bile duct and the main pancreatic duct. Cystic ducts were visualized in 88% of these volunteers by HASTE-MRCP, and branches of pancreatic ducts were visualized in 75% by HASTE-MRCP. The diameter and length of dilated or stenotic ducts seen on HASTE-MRCP were correlated with percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography or endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography images in 56 diseased patients. Not only the position of stenosis or dilatation but also the distal portion of the stenosis was visualized by HASTE-MRCP.
Conclusion: Breath-hold HASTE-MRCP with a phased-array multicoil consistently allows for high-quality images of both normal and diseased pancreaticobiliary tracts. This technique can be used as a noninvasive screening method for pancreaticobiliary diseases in the majority of patients.