JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography for diagnosing hepatolithiasis.

BACKGROUND/AIMS: Direct cholangiography with endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography and percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography sometimes fails to adequately opacify the entire biliary tract, because of severe biliary obstruction caused by ductal stricture or lodged stones. We assessed the diagnostic accuracy of magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography for hepatolithiasis.

METHODOLOGY: Five patients with hepatolithiasis underwent ultrasonography, computed tomography, direct cholangiography, and magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography, using a half-Fourier acquisition single-shot turbo spin-echo sequence. Surgical exploration or pathologic examination revealed stricture and dilatation of the intrahepatic ducts in all patients. Diagnostic accuracies for stones and ductal abnormalities were compared among the imaging studies.

RESULTS: No complications occurred during magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography studies. Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography fully depicted the biliary tract. Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography accurately detected and localized intrahepatic stones, as well as bile duct stricture and dilatation, in all patients. Intrahepatic stones were detected by endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography in one of four patients and by percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography in all three who underwent this procedure. Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography and percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography demonstrated ductal stricture in all patients but failed to completely demonstrate the biliary tree in three of four patients, and one of three, respectively. On ultrasonography and computed tomography, precise localization of stones was difficult. Ultrasonography and computed tomography failed to demonstrate ductal stricture in one and two of the five patients, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography diagnoses intrahepatic stones and bile duct abnormalities less invasively and more accurately than endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography and percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography.

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