Helical CT cholangiography with three-dimensional volume rendering using an oral biliary contrast agent: feasibility of a novel technique.
OBJECTIVE: We evaluated the feasibility and image quality of a new noninvasive biliary imaging technique: helical CT cholangiography with three-dimensional volume rendering using an oral biliary contrast agent. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Nineteen subjects including five healthy volunteers and 14 patients underwent helical CT cholangiography. Subjects ingested 6.0 g of iopanoic acid 6-10 hr before undergoing imaging. Axial data were used to construct three-dimensional volume-rendered cholangiograms. Two radiologists, an endoscopist, and a laparoscopic surgeon reviewed the images and evaluated overall image quality. In the 14 patients, findings from CT cholangiography were compared with those from ERCP, surgery, and intraoperative cholangiography. RESULTS: All segments of the biliary tree were opacified in all volunteers except one, in whom the intrahepatic ducts were not opacified. Image quality was good to excellent in all volunteers. Anomalous cystic duct insertions were seen in two volunteers. Opacification of the biliary tree was rated as acceptable to excellent in nine patients and suboptimal in five. In five patients with good or excellent opacification, the biliary anatomy correlated with findings on intraoperative cholangiography or ERCP. CT cholangiography revealed additional conditions (gallbladder varices and acute pancreatitis) and variant anatomy in three patients. CONCLUSION: Results of this pilot project suggest that obtaining CT cholangiograms using an oral biliary contrast agent is a feasible, noninvasive method for revealing biliary anatomy. However, visualization of the biliary tree was suboptimal in 36% of the patients, which represents a limitation of this technique.
Caoili, EM; Paulson, EK; Heyneman, LE; Branch, MS; Eubanks, WS; Nelson, RC
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