What is the role of CT and MRI in the assessment of patients with acute pancreatitis?
CT is the mainstay of imaging evaluation of patients with acute pancreatitis, whereas MRI is more commonly used as a problem-solving tool. When performed, CT is typically obtained after 3 days from the onset of symptoms or when clinical findings worsen. Major indications for CT and MRI in this clinical setting are:
- • To confirm the clinical diagnosis of acute pancreatitis (if the diagnosis is uncertain) while simultaneously excluding other potential causes of acute abdominal symptoms and signs.
- • To assess the severity of acute pancreatitis involving the pancreas and peripancreatic tissues including the presence of complications.
- • To determine the underlying etiology of acute pancreatitis.
- • To guide treatment (e.g., percutaneous drainage of collections) and to monitor treatment response.