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Contrast Agent Allows Quicker, More Thorough MRI Screening of Living Liver Donors Before Surgery


A single dose of the contrast agent gadobenate dimeglumine can help liver donors avoid multiple MRI examinations during the screening process, cutting down on time and cost without compromising accuracy, say researchers from the Yonsei University College of Medicine in Seoul, Korea.

For the study, 11 potential liver donors underwent MRI examinations after a single dose of gadobenate dimeglumine in order to screen them for donor adequacy. The researchers were able to find anatomical abnormalities in six of the patients that potentially could have affected either the selection or the surgery process. The MRI results were all corroborated at surgery.

“Preoperative imaging is crucial for both the selection of potential living liver donors and the planning of surgery because it reveals the exact anatomy of the donor liver. By performing MRI on a potential donor, doctors can assess any abnormality or variation in the liver itself, its vessels or its bile duct. To improve the accuracy of MRI, contrast media is used,” said Myeong-Jin Kim, MD, one of the researchers on the study.

According to the researchers, there are different types of contrast agents. The more widely used (gadolinium-based agents) are good for imaging the liver and pathologic lesions and vessels, but not the bile duct. Other types (such as mangafodipir trisodium) can improve imaging of the liver and bile duct, but not the vessels. “As a result, the potential donor may need to undergo two separate MRI examinations so that the different contrast agents can be used. Gadobenate dimeglumine can help image the liver, bile duct and vessels all at once,” said Dr. Kim.

“Our study shows that the use of this new agent may decrease the examination costs and time for preoperative MRI for potential living liver donors. By accurate evaluation of both vascular and biliary anatomy, adequate preoperative planning can be ensured and it may be helpful to decrease the potential postoperative complications,” said Dr. Kim.

The study appears in the August 2005 issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

Jason Ocker | EurekAlert!
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