Cross-sectional imaging-based severity scoring of chronic pancreatitis: why it is necessary and how it can be done

Abstract

Chronic pancreatitis (CP) remains a diagnostic challenge as clinical symptoms are non-specific, histopathological appearances are varied and pathogenesis remains incompletely understood. Multiple classifications and grading systems have been proposed for CP, but none leverage the full capabilities of cross-sectional imaging modalities and are not widely accepted or validated. CT and MRI/MRCP are useful in identifying a wide spectrum of histopathological changes in CP and can also assess exocrine reserve of pancreas. Advanced MRI techniques such as T1 mapping and extracellular volume fraction can potentially identify early CP. Cross-sectional imaging-based severity scoring can quantify CP disease burden and may have positive implications for clinicians and researchers. In this review, we discuss the need for cross-sectional imaging-based severity scoring for CP, role of CT, and MRI/MRCP in assessment of CP and how these modalities can be used to obtain severity scoring for CP. We summarize relevant information from recently published CT and MRI/MRCP reporting standards for CP, and from international guidelines for cross-sectional imaging and severity scoring for CP.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Dr. Dhiraj Yadav, Professor of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, for reviewing the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Anil K. Dasyam.

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Dasyam, A.K., Shah, Z.K., Tirkes, T. et al. Cross-sectional imaging-based severity scoring of chronic pancreatitis: why it is necessary and how it can be done. Abdom Radiol 45, 1447–1457 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00261-019-02218-6

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Keywords

  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Multidetector computed tomography
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Classification