Magnetic Resonance Cholangiopancreatography Accurately Predicts the Presence or Absence of Choledocholithiasis

Steven N. Hochwald, Michael Dobryansky, Neil M. Rofsky, Kathy S. Naik, Peter Shamamian, Gene Coppa, Stuart G. Marcus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Accurate common bile duct (CBD) imaging in patients with biliary calculi is an important determinant of specific therapy. Noninvasive methods to evaluate calculi in the CBD have limited accuracy and rely mainly on ultrasonography and computed tomography. Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) is a new noninvasive modality available to evaluate the biliary system. This study was undertaken to assess the accuracy of MRCP in predicting the presence or absence of CBD stones in patients at increased risk for choledocholithiasis. The medical records of 48 patients with a final diagnosis of biliary calculous disease undergoing MRCP between November 1995 and April 1997 were retrospectively reviewed. Three groups were identified: choledocholithiasis (n = 19), gallstone pancreatitis (n = 11), and uncomplicated cholelithiasis (n = 18). In all patients the presence or absence of CBD calculi, as determined by MRCP, was correlated with the final diagnosis obtained from endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) (n = 19), intraoperative cholangiography (n = 6), CBD exploration (n = 13), or clinical follow-up (n = 10). Sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of MRCP were determined. The major clinical indications for MRCP in the 48 patients ware abnormal liver function tests followed by hyperamylasemia. Twenty patients were diagnosed with CBD stones and 28 were not. MRCP correctly predicted the presence of CBD stones in 19 of 20 patients and failed to detect CBD stones in one patient with gallstone pancreatitis. MRCP incorrectly predicted the presence of CBD stones in 3 of 28 patients ultimately found to have gallstones and no CBD stones. MRCP correctly predicted the absence of CBD stones in the other 25 patients including 10 patients with gallstone pancreatitis. Overall, MRCP had a sensitivity of 95%, a specificity of 89%, and an accuracy of 92%. MRCP is an accurate, noninvasive test for evaluating the CBD duct for the presence or absence of calculi in patients suspected of having CBD stones. Our data support the use of MRCP in the preoperative evaluation of these patients as findings may influence therapeutic decisions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)573-579
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Gastrointestinal Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Choledocholithiasis
  • Common bile duct
  • ERCP
  • Gallstone pancreatitis
  • MRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Gastroenterology


Dive into the research topics of 'Magnetic Resonance Cholangiopancreatography Accurately Predicts the Presence or Absence of Choledocholithiasis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this