Outcome and early complications of ERCP: a prospective single center study

Hepatogastroenterology. Mar-Apr 2005;52(62):352-5.

Abstract

Background/aims: ERCP has been used since 1968 both as a diagnostic and as a therapeutic procedure. In the last ten years several less invasive imaging methods have developed which allow visualization of bile ducts and pancreatic ducts; therefore ERCP has become mainly a therapeutic tool. The aim of the study was to prospectively evaluate the early outcome of ERCP when used essentially as a therapeutic tool.

Methodology: All patients referred to our unit between April 1 1998 and March 31 2000 were included in the study. The indication for the procedure, number of cannulations, duration of procedure, performance of endoscopic sphinterotomy or pre-cut, insertion of stent and the final outcome were recorded. All patients were visited (in-patients) or contacted by phone (outpatients) 24 hours and one week after the procedure. If a complication occurred the patient was followed until it was resolved.

Results: 722 ERCP procedures were performed on 534 patients (59% females), mean age 63.4 years (range 3 to 98 years). The procedure was performed with a therapeutic intention in 95% of cases because of suspicion of: cholelithiasis (58%), tumor of pancreas/bile ducts (30%), post-cholecystectomy bile leak or bile duct stenosis (6%) or treatment of chronic pancreatitis (1%). The overall success rate of selective duct cannulation was 92%. Endoscopic sphincterotomy was performed in 375 procedures (52%), pre-cut in 152 (21%) and stent inserted in 180 (25%). Among the 701 procedures with complete information 76 complications occurred in 73 patients (10.8%): pancreatitis 4.3%, perforation 1.3%, sepsis 3.7%, bleeding 1.4%. Most of the complications (63/701, 9%) were mild to moderate. Procedure-related mortality was 0.6% due to perforation (1 patient), and sepsis (3 patients). The main factors influencing the complication rate were the difficulty of the examination, performance of an invasive procedure or the operator.

Conclusions: In the era of therapeutic ERCP, the risk of severe complication from the procedure is low--1.8% (including a mortality rate of 0.6%) when using the appropriate technique in experienced and skilled hands.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biliary Tract Diseases / surgery
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cholangiopancreatography, Endoscopic Retrograde* / adverse effects
  • Cholangiopancreatography, Endoscopic Retrograde* / mortality
  • Cholecystectomy / adverse effects
  • Digestive System Diseases / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatic Diseases / surgery
  • Postoperative Complications / surgery
  • Prospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome