What is the role of magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) in the diagnosis of acute cholangitis?

Updated: Dec 29, 2017
  • Author: Timothy M Scott, DO; Chief Editor: Barry E Brenner, MD, PhD, FACEP  more...
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Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) is a noninvasive imaging modality that is increasingly being used in the diagnosis of biliary stones and other biliary pathology.

MRCP is accurate for detecting choledocholithiasis, neoplasms, strictures, and dilations within the biliary system.

Limitations of MRCP include the inability for invasive diagnostic tests such as bile sampling, cytologic testing, stone removal, or stenting. It has limited sensitivity for small stones (< 6 mm in diameter).

Absolute contraindications are the same as for a traditional MRI, which include the presence of a cardiac pacemaker, cerebral aneurysm clips, ocular or cochlear implants, and ocular foreign bodies. Relative contraindications include the presence of cardiac prosthetic valves, neurostimulators, metal prostheses, and penile implants.

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