Role of computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging in local complications of acute pancreatitis
Acute pancreatitis (AP) represents a pancreas inflammation of sudden onset that can present different degrees of severity. AP is a frequent cause of acute abdomen and its complications are still a cause of death. Biliary calculosis and alcohol abuse are the most frequent cause of AP. Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are not necessary for the diagnosis of AP but they are fundamental tools for the identification of the cause, degree severity and AP complications. AP severity assessment is in fact one of the most important issue in disease management. Contrast-enhanced CT is preferred in the emergency setting and is considered the gold standard in patients with AP. MRI is comparable to CT for the diagnosis of AP but requires much more time so it is not usually chosen in the emergency scenario. Complications of AP can be distinguished in localized and generalized. Among the localized complications, we can identify: acute peripancreatic fluid collections (APFC), pseudocysts, acute necrotic collections (ANC), walled off pancreatic necrosis (WOPN), venous thrombosis, pseudoaneurysms and haemorrhage. Multiple organ failure syndrome (MOFS) and sepsis are possible generalized complications of AP. In this review, we focus on CT and MRI findings in local complications of AP and when and how to perform CT and MRI. We paid also attention to recent developments in diagnostic classification of AP complications.