Magnetic Resonance Cholangiopancreatography
What you should know
Magnetic Resonance Cholangiopancreatography (Precare) Care Guide
- Magnetic Resonance Cholangiopancreatography Aftercare Instructions
- Magnetic Resonance Cholangiopancreatography Discharge Care
- Magnetic Resonance Cholangiopancreatography Inpatient Care
- Magnetic Resonance Cholangiopancreatography Precare
- En Espanol
- During magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP), pictures of the gallbladder, bile duct, and pancreas are taken. Your gallbladder, bile duct, and pancreas are organs in your abdomen. MRCP is a type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test.
- You may need an MRCP to check for stones or infection in your gallbladder, bile duct, or pancreas. If your bile duct is too narrow (stricture), or you have a growth in your pancreas or bile duct, an MRCP may show it. An MRCP may be needed before or after surgery, such as a liver transplant. An MRCP can show what is causing symptoms such as abdominal pain. The results of the MRCP can help caregivers find medical problems, and plan your treatment. Treatment may decrease your symptoms, and help prevent your condition from getting worse.
You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
- During the test, you may feel anxious (very worried). If contrast is used during your test, you may feel hot. The loud noises during the test may cause hearing loss. Metal in your body may heat up and cause a burn or other damage. If you use a device such as a pacemaker, it may stop working correctly. You may need to have a second MRCP if the pictures are unclear. Some medical problems may not show up on an MRCP, and you may need other tests.
- Without this test, caregivers may not know what is causing pain and other symptoms. Treatment for a medical problem may be delayed or the problem may be left untreated. Your symptoms may get worse without treatment. Call your caregiver if you have questions or concerns about your MRCP, condition, or care.
Before your test:
- Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicines before your test. Tell your caregiver if you are taking heart medicine, diuretics (water pills), or medicine to help relax your muscles. Tell your caregiver if you use a medicine patch, such as for pain or birth control.
- Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your caregiver if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.
- Tell your caregiver if you have any metal in your body, such as pacemakers or metal clips. You may find metal in artificial (man-made) limbs, joints, hearing aids, tattoos, and permanent cosmetics (lasting make-up). Tell caregivers if you work around metal, and if you have ever had an injury caused by metal, such as an eye injury. Tell your caregiver if you use an oxygen tank. Never bring an oxygen tank into the MRCP room.
- Some people may feel worried or scared about being inside the MRCP machine. Tell your caregiver if you are afraid of being in small spaces. Your caregiver may give you medicine to help you relax before the test.
- Tell your caregiver if you know or think you might be pregnant.
The night before your test:
- You may need to fast (not eat anything) for 2 to 6 hours before your test. Ask caregivers for directions about eating and drinking before this test.
The day of your test:
- Write down the correct date, time, and location of your procedure.
- You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
- Caregivers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.
What will happen:
- Caregivers will ask you to remove jewelry and any other metal objects. You will lie down on a table attached to the MRI machine. If you need to have contrast, caregivers may ask you to drink contrast liquid or you may be given it through your IV. Contrast liquid is dye that helps make pictures show up better. You may be given medicine to help you relax. You also may be given earplugs or headphones to decrease the noise made by the MRI machine.
- The table will move into a large hole inside the machine. Your caregiver will tell you when to lie very still and hold your breath. During the MRCP, you will hear loud tapping or knocking noises as the machine takes pictures. The table that you are on will be moved out of the hole when the MRCP is over.
After your test:
Do not get off the table until caregivers say it is okay. If you had contrast, caregivers may ask you to drink liquids, such as water, or caregivers may put fluids in your IV. You may be able to go home, or, if you are staying in the hospital, you will be taken to your room.
This is an area where your family and friends can wait until you are able to have visitors. Ask your visitors to provide a way to reach them if they leave the waiting area.
Contact a caregiver if
- You cannot make it to your test.
- You have new or worsening signs or symptoms.
Seek Care Immediately if
- You have new or severe (very bad) pain in your abdomen.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.