Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) is a noninvasive test, which can image the biliary tree.
In this study, physicians from Canada conducted a meta-analysis to estimate the overall sensitivity and specificity of MRCP in suspected biliary obstruction. They also evaluated clinically important subgroups.
The team conducted a MEDLINE search for relevant studies in English or French, bibliographies, and subject matter experts.
|MRCP has an overall pooled sensitivity of 95% and specificity of 97%.|
|Annals of Internal Medicine|
The team identified 498 relevant studies. Of these, 67 met the team's inclusion criteria.
They used mixed-effect models to estimate the sensitivity and specificity of MRCP. The team also performed a quantitative receiver-operating characteristic analysis.
The physicians determined that MRCP had a high overall pooled sensitivity of 95% and specificity of 97%.
However, it was less sensitive for stones (92%) and malignant conditions (88%), than for obstruction.
The team also found that diagnostic performance was higher in studies that were larger, did not use consecutive enrollment, and did not use gold standard assessment for some patients.
Dr Joseph Romagnuolo's team concluded, "MRCP is a noninvasive imaging test with excellent overall sensitivity and specificity for demonstrating the level and presence of biliary obstruction".
"However, it seems less sensitive for detecting stones or differentiating malignant from benign obstruction".