The diagnostic utility of HASTE MRI in the evaluation of acute cholecystitis

Fintan Regan, David C. Schaefer, David P. Smith, John Petronis, Mark Bohlman, Tom H. Magnuson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study was twofold: (a) to determine the significance of high signal intensity surrounding the gallbladder as seen on T2-weighted HASTE (half-Fourier acquisition single shot turbo SE) MR images in patients with acute cholecystitis and (b) to determine the sensitivity of T2-weighted HASTE MR images in detecting gallbladder and common bile duct (CBD) calculi in patients with acute cholecystitis. Method: Seventy-two patients with a suspicion of acute cholecystitis were referred for HASTE MRI over a 2 year period. Forty-one patients underwent MRI after sonography and the remaining 31 patients before sonography. MR images were independently evaluated for the presence of MR pericholecystic high signal and gallbladder and CBD calculi. Findings were correlated with results obtained at sonography and at surgery. Results: Of the 72 patients imaged with HASTE MRI, 55 had cholecystitis based on clinical, sonographic, and/or surgical findings. Of these, 45 had acute and 10 had chronic cholecystitis. HASTE MRI demonstrated MR pericholecystic high signal in 41 of 45 (91%) of the patients with acute cholecystitis. The sensitivity of HASTE MRI in diagnosing acute cholecystitis was 91%. The specificity was 79%. The positive predictive value was 87%, the negative predictive value was 85%, and the overall accuracy of the test was 89%. Gallbladder stones were seen by HASTE MRI in 38 of 41 (93%) of patients with acute calculus cholecystitis demonstrated at sonography. CBD stones were demonstrated by HASTE MRI in seven of nine (78%) patients and by sonography in five of nine (56%) patients with documented choledocholithiasis on conventional cholangiography. Conclusion: HASTE MRI has a high degree of accuracy in diagnosing acute cholecystitis based on the single finding of pericholecystic MR high signal. A similar level of accuracy is demonstrated in detecting gallbladder stones. Biliary duct calculi are detected with even greater accuracy than with sonography in patients with acute cholecystitis. Invasive preoperative endoscopic retrograde cholangiography may therefore be limited to only those patients with acute cholecystitis and CBD stones demonstrated on HASTE MRI. These features make HASTE MRI an ideal imaging modality in the initial evaluation of acute biliary pain and may ultimately replace sonography in the preoperative evaluation of acute cholecystitis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)638-642
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of computer assisted tomography
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1998


  • Bile ducts, abnormalities.
  • Cholecystitis
  • Gallbladder, calculi
  • Magnetic resonance imaging, rapid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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