Background: Endoscopic retrograde cholangiography is the most commonly utilized tool for the identification of common bile duct stones (CBDS) before laparoscopic cholecystectomy, whereas the role of magnetic resonance cholangiography (MRC) for patient evaluation before laparoscopic cholecystectomy is currently undefined. Methods: We prospectively evaluated the efficacy of MRC for the identification of CBDS among patients with high risk for choledocholithiasis. Patient selection was based on clinical, sonographic, and laboratory criteria. Standard cholangiograms were obtained when possible for verification of MRC results. Results: Ninety-nine patients underwent evaluation with preoperative MRC. CBDS was visualized in 30% of patients. MRC sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value, and accuracy were 85%, 90%, 77%, 94%, and 89%, respectively. Conclusions: MRC is useful for the evaluation of patients with suspected choledocholithiasis. Advantages of MRC include its noninvasive nature, ease of application, and accuracy in identifying and estimating the size of CBDS. Application of MRC in this setting reduces the need for diagnostic endoscopic retrograde cholangiography. Future investigations should be directed at the development of cost-effective utilization strategies for MRC application. Copyright (C) 1999 Excerpta Medica Inc.
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