Published online Nov 15, 2015. doi: 10.4291/wjgp.v6.i4.140
Peer-review started: June 27, 2015
First decision: September 17, 2015
Revised: September 28, 2015
Accepted: October 20, 2015
Article in press: October 27, 2015
Published online: November 15, 2015
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a well established technique that has revolutionized diagnostic radiology. Until recently, the impact that MRI has had in the assessment of gastrointestinal motor function and bowel fluid distribution in health and in disease has been more limited, despite the novel insights that MRI can provide along the entire gastrointestinal tract. MRI biomarkers include intestinal motility indices, small bowel water content and whole gut transit time. The present review discusses new developments and applications of MRI in the upper gastrointestinal tract, the small bowel and the colon reported in the literature in the last 5 years.
Core tip: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of gastrointestinal motor function and fluids distribution is coming of age, with a range of MRI biomarkers that can be measured non-invasively. The novel MRI biomarkers include intestinal motility indexes, the small bowel water content and whole gut transit time. Future research directions will focus on small and large bowel motility and on gut transit. Further validation of the methods and automation of data analysis will finally translate the MRI biomarkers into clinical routine.