Background and study aims: The widespread use of cholangioscopy in the management of difficult choledocholithiasis has been limited by the need for two expert operators. This report describes the use of a technique of single-operator duodenoscope-assisted cholangioscopy (SODAC) in the successful management of 75 patients with choledocholithiasis.
Patients and methods: The single-operator technique, allowing simultaneous control of both the duodenoscope and cholangioscope, was prospectively studied between June 1999 and June 2001 in the diagnosis and treatment of choledocholithiasis.
Results: A total of 109 SODAC procedures were conducted in 75 patients to manage choledocholithiasis. The indications were: firstly, SODAC-guided electrohydraulic lithotripsy (EHL) of stones in which conventional methods, including mechanical lithotripsy, had not been successful (52 SODAC procedures in 26 patients); and secondly, direct visualization of the biliary tree after cholangiography to assess the presence of stones (57 SODAC procedures in 49 patients). The locations and numbers of the stones, but not their size, were predictive of the number of SODAC-guided lithotripsy sessions required. All of the patients were free of stones at the end of the study period, and no complications were recorded.
Conclusions: Single-operator SODAC-guided electrohydraulic lithotripsy was effective in the treatment of difficult cases of choledocholithiasis in which conventional methods had previously failed. The technique may allow increased use of cholangioscopy in the management of choledocholithiasis.