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Keywords:

  • liver;
  • magnetic resonance imaging;
  • computed tomography;
  • transplantation;
  • arterial anatomy

Abstract

Purpose

To determine the feasibility of using a multiphasic magnetic resonance (MR) examination to evaluate the hepatic arterial anatomy and parenchyma in patients awaiting orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT).

Materials and Methods

Twenty consecutive patients awaiting OLT underwent multiphasic MR (using a T1-weighted 3D gadolinium-enhanced gradient-echo (GRE) sequence and two separate injections of contrast material) and computed tomography (CT) imaging; both imaging studies were performed within a 1-week period for each patient. Quantitative and qualitative assessment of the hepatic arterial system on MR data was performed. Two independent observers classified the hepatic arterial anatomy and evaluated the hepatic parenchyma from the MR data. The prospective CT interpretation was used as the gold standard.

Results

Overall qualitative rating of hepatic arterial system-to-background contrast on MR data was good to excellent (average pooled score of 2.00 ± 0.27), with no significant difference between the two observers after the first or second injections of contrast material. Classification of hepatic arterial anatomy by MR angiography (MRA) and CT angiography (CTA) was concordant in 85% (17/20) of patients and discordant in 15% (3/20) of patients. Focal parenchymal lesions were detected in 25% (5/20) of patients by MR and CT; however, two lesions in one patient with multiple lesions were detected only with MR.

Conclusion

Multiphasic T1-weighted 3D gadolinium-enhanced MR examination can provide comprehensive evaluation of the hepatic arterial anatomy and parenchyma in patients awaiting OLT. MR may offer an advantage over CT in the detection of focal parenchymal lesions. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2002;16:565–575. Published by Wiley-Liss, Inc.