Article Abstract

Gastrointestinal tract involvement in acute pancreatitis: initial findings and follow-up by magnetic resonance imaging

Authors: Yi-Fan Ji, Xiao-Ming Zhang, Don G. Mitchell, Xing-Hui Li, Tian-Wu Chen, Yong Li, Zhi-Guo Bao, Wei Wei Tang, Bo Xiao, Xiao-Hua Huang, Lin Yang


Background: To study the initial and follow up patterns of gastrointestinal tract involvement in acute pancreatitis (AP) using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Methods: A total of 209 patients with AP undergoing abdominal MRI on 1.5 T MRI were compared to 100 control patients selected from our daily clinical caseload who underwent MRI over the same recruitment period and had no other disease which can cause abnormality of gastrointestinal tract. Initial and follow up MRI examinations of gastrointestinal tract abnormalities were noted for AP patients. The severity of AP was graded by the MRSI and APACHE II. Spearman correlation of gastrointestinal tract involvement with MRSI and APACHE II was analyzed.
Results: In 209 patients with AP, 63% of the AP patients on their initial MRI exams and 5% of control subjects had at least one gastrointestinal tract abnormality (P<0.05). In the control group, thirty-seven patients were normal on MRI, 24 patients with renal cysts, eighteen patients with liver cysts, eleven patients with liver hemangiomas, and ten patients with splenomegaly. The abnormalities of gastrointestinal tract observed in AP patients included thickened stomach wall (20%), thickened duodenum wall (27%), thickened ascending colon wall (11%), thickened transverse colon wall (15%), and thickened descending colon wall (26%), among others. Gastrointestinal tract abnormalities were correlated with the MRSI score (r=0.46, P<0.05) and APACHE II score (r=0.19, P<0.05). Among 62 patients who had follow up examinations, 26% of patients had gastrointestinal tract abnormality, which was significantly lower than that in the initial exams (P<0.05). Resolution of gastrointestinal tract abnormal MRI findings coincided with symptom alleviation in AP patients.
Conclusions: Gastrointestinal tract abnormalities on MRI are common in AP and they are positively correlated with the severity of AP. It may add value for determining the severity of AP.