Indexed on: 01 Apr '87Published on: 01 Apr '87Published in: The British journal of radiology
Twenty-nine patients, 27 of whom had either inflammatory disease of the pancreas or pancreatic tumour, were studied by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT). Six healthy volunteers were studied by MRI alone. The pancreatic T1 and T2 relaxation times were calculated using a multipoint iterative method with data from seven total saturation recovery and six spin echo sequences. Magnetic resonance imaging can demonstrate the normal pancreas and a variety of pathological processes greater than 1-2 cm in size, but with less spatial resolution than CT. The relaxation-time results indicated no significant discrimination between chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic tumour. A significant elevation in the relaxation times was observed, however, in those patients with calcific chronic pancreatitis compared with the non-calcific chronic pancreatitic group and normal controls, suggesting a different pathophysiology for the two subgroups of chronic pancreatitis. The active phase of acute pancreatitis was associated with significantly elevated relaxation times, which returned to normal levels during the resolved phase of the disease. Associated extrapancreatic fluid collections were characterised by their very long relaxation times. The problems associated with spatial resolution, respiratory motion and lack of quantitative tissue characterisation suggest that MRI of the pancreas, using present methods, is unlikely to contribute to the overall management of patients with exocrine pancreatic disease.