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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Gastroenterology and Hepatology - Physiology - Radiology and Medical Imaging

Meandering Main Pancreatic Duct as a Relevant Factor to the Onset of Idiopathic Recurrent Acute Pancreatitis
Published: Thursday, May 24, 2012
Author: Wataru Gonoi et al.

by Wataru Gonoi, Hiroyuki Akai, Kazuchika Hagiwara, Masaaki Akahane, Naoto Hayashi, Eriko Maeda, Takeharu Yoshikawa, Shigeru Kiryu, Minoru Tada, Kansei Uno, Hiroshi Ohtsu, Naoki Okura, Kazuhiko Koike, Kuni Ohtomo


Meandering main pancreatic duct (MMPD), which comprises loop type and reverse-Z type main pancreatic duct (MPD), has long been discussed its relation to pancreatitis. However, no previous study has investigated its clinical significance. We aimed to determine the non-biased prevalence and the effect of MMPD on idiopathic pancreatitis using non-invasive magnetic resonance (MR) technique.

Methods and Findings

A cross-sectional study performed in a tertiary referral center. The study enrolled 504 subjects from the community and 30 patients with idiopathic pancreatitis (7 acute, 13 chronic, and 10 recurrent acute). All subjects underwent MR scanning and medical examination. MMPD was diagnosed when the MPD in the head of pancreas formed two or more extrema in the horizontal direction on coronal images of MR cholangiopancreatography, making a loop or a reverse-Z shaped hairpin curves and not accompanied by other pancreatic ductal anomaly. Statistical comparison was made among groups on the rate of MMPD including loop and reverse-Z subtypes, MR findings, and clinical features. The rate of MMPD was significantly higher for all idiopathic pancreatitis/idiopathic recurrent acute pancreatitis (RAP) (20%/40%; P<0.001/0.0001; odds ratio (OR), 11.1/29.0) than in the community (2.2%) but was not higher for acute/chronic pancreatitis (14%/8%; P?=?0.154/0.266). Multiple logistic regression analysis revealed MMPD to be a significant factor that induces pancreatitis/RAP (P<0.0001/0.0001; OR, 4.01/26.2). Loop/reverse-Z subtypes were found more frequently in idiopathic RAP subgroup (20%/20%; P?=?0.009/0.007; OR, 20.2/24.2) than in the community (1.2%/1.0%). The other clinical and radiographic features were shown not associated with the onset of pancreatitis.


MMPD is a common anatomical variant and might be a relevant factor to the onset of idiopathic RAP.