Role of MRCP in diagnosing biliary anastomotic strictures after liver transplantation: A single tertiary care center experience

Ali Akbar, Quynh T. Tran, Satheesh P. Nair, Salil Parikh, Muhammad Bilal, Mohammed Ismail, Jason M. Vanatta, James D. Eason, Sanjaya K. Satapathy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background. Biliary strictures (BS) are common complication after liver transplantation. We aimed to determine the accuracy of magnetic resonance cholagiopancreatography (MRCP) in diagnosing BS in liver transplant recipients (LTRs) when compared to direct cholangiographic methods (endoscopic resonance cholagiopancreatography [ERCP] and/or percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography [PTC]). Methods. Retrospective chart review of 910 LTRs (July 2008 to April 2015) was performed, and a total of 39 patients with duct-to-duct anastomosis (22 males; 56.4%; mean age, 52.8 ± 8.3 years) were included who had an MRCP followed by either ERCP and/or PTC within 4 weeks. A cholangiographic narrowing (on ERCP and/or PTC) that required balloon dilation and/or stent placement was considered a BS and was considered clinically significant if the intervention resulted in at least 30% improvement of bilirubin within 2 weeks. Sensitivity, specificity, accuracy, positive predictive values and negative predictive values of MRCP in diagnosing BS were calculated. Results. Magnetic resonance cholagiopancreatography showed anastomotic BS in 17 of 39 patients, and subsequent ERCP and/or PTC revealed a total of 25 BS (positive predictive value of 0.94). Nine BS on cholangiography (ERCP, 8; PTC, 1) were not detected on earlier MRCP (sensitivity, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.45-0.82); 2 were clinically significant BS and 6 of the remaining 7 had no improvement in their liver function test with biliary intervention. Thirteen LTRs had no BS on either modality (specificity, 0.93; 95% CI, 0.66-0.99). The negative predictive value of MRCP was 0.59 for cholangiographic BS. The overall accuracy of MRCP is 0.74 (exact 95% CI, 0.58-0.87). Inclusion of age, race, and alanine aminotransferase level improved the predictive value of MRCP (area under the curve = 0.94, 95% CI: 0.86-1.00). Conclusions. Magnetic resonance cholagiopancreatography has high specificity but low sensitivity in diagnosing cholangiographic BS in LTRs, although the predictive value further improved with inclusion of age, race, and alanine aminotransferase. Clinical significance of BS in LTRs not identified on MRCP is questionable because ERCP with intervention did not improve their liver function tests in the vast majority.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere347
JournalTransplantation Direct
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2018


Dive into the research topics of 'Role of MRCP in diagnosing biliary anastomotic strictures after liver transplantation: A single tertiary care center experience'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this