Cystic fibrosis MRI

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Shaghayegh Habibi, M.D.[2]


MRI may be helpful in determining the cause of linear lung markings in cystic fibrosis. It is also helpful in differentiating mucous plugging and peribronchial thickening from normal pulmonary blood vessels. Because of MRI absence of ionising radiation and possibility for obtaining functional information, it is helpful for assessing lung disease in children who require repetitive follow up imaging for a long time. MRI studies of the pancreas have demonstrated different patterns of fatty infiltration, ductal changes, pancreatic cysts, calcifications and hypoechoic areas representing fibrosis.


  • In cystic fibrosis the sensitivity of MRI in presenting pancreatic abnormality is 94%.[3]
  • MRI studies of the pancreas have demonstrated: [4]
    • Different patterns of fatty infiltration:
      • Diffuse fatty replacement
      • Partial fatty replacement
      • Pancreatic atrophy
    • Ductal changes
    • Pancreatic cysts (ranging from small to severe pancreatic cystosis)
    • Calcifications
    • Hypoechoic areas representing fibrosis


  1. Amaxopoulou C, Gnannt R, Higashigaito K, Jung A, Kellenberger CJ (February 2018). "Structural and perfusion magnetic resonance imaging of the lung in cystic fibrosis". Pediatr Radiol. 48 (2): 165–175. doi:10.1007/s00247-017-4021-8. PMID 29143200.
  2. Grum CM, Lynch JP (September 1992). "Chest radiographic findings in cystic fibrosis". Semin Respir Infect. 7 (3): 193–209. PMID 1475543.
  3. Tham RT, Heyerman HG, Falke TH, Zwinderman AH, Bloem JL, Bakker W, Lamers CB (April 1991). "Cystic fibrosis: MR imaging of the pancreas". Radiology. 179 (1): 183–6. doi:10.1148/radiology.179.1.2006275. PMID 2006275.
  4. Engjom T, Erchinger F, Lærum BN, Tjora E, Gilja OH, Dimcevski G (2015). "Ultrasound echo-intensity predicts severe pancreatic affection in cystic fibrosis patients". PLoS ONE. 10 (3): e0121121. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0121121. PMC 4372286. PMID 25803445.

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