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Accuracy of magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography for locating hepatolithiasis and detecting accompanying biliary strictures.

Endoscopy 2004 November
BACKGROUND AND STUDY AIMS: Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) is rapidly replacing diagnostic endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) in various pancreaticobiliary diseases. This study was designed to evaluate the accuracy of MRCP in detection of hepatolithiasis and accompanying biliary strictures.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: A prospective study over 2 years was conducted in 66 patients with primary intrahepatic stones. All patients with hepatolithiasis underwent percutaneous transhepatic cholangioscopy (PTC) within 2 weeks of the MRCP examination. The MRCP findings were compared with those of PTC as the reference standard for assessing the location of intrahepatic stones and the presence or absence of accompanying biliary strictures.

RESULTS: The sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of MRCP for detecting and locating intrahepatic stones were 97 %, 99 %, and 98 %, respectively. The sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of MRCP for detecting and locating intrahepatic bile duct strictures were 93 %, 97 %, and 97 %, respectively. During PTC, six of the 66 patients (9 %) were found on histology to have intraductal cholangiocarcinoma in stone-bearing ducts, which had not been suspected on MRCP.

CONCLUSIONS: In this study, MRCP allowed intrahepatic stones and accompanying biliary strictures to be located accurately. MRCP may therefore be able to replace diagnostic ERCP in patients with primary intrahepatic stones. However, MRCP had a limited ability to reveal concurrent intraductal cholangiocarcinoma associated with hepatolithiasis.

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