Commitment, confirmation, and clearance: new techniques for nonradiation ERCP during pregnancy (with videos)

Gastrointest Endosc. 2008 Feb;67(2):364-8. doi: 10.1016/j.gie.2007.09.036.


Background: Symptomatic choledocholithiasis during pregnancy can be treated with ERCP, but fluoroscopy may pose a risk to the fetus. Nonradiation ERCP may be a safer form of treatment, but its performance has not been optimized.

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to evaluate new methods of nonradiation ERCP during pregnancy, including wire-guided cannulation techniques to achieve bile-duct access without the use of fluoroscopy, and the use of peroral choledochoscopy to confirm ductal clearance.

Study design: A retrospective review of consecutive ERCPs performed on pregnant women.

Setting: Urban referral hospital.

Patients: Pregnant women with symptomatic choledocholithiasis.

Interventions: All patients underwent therapeutic ERCP without any use of fluoroscopy. Endoscopist-controlled wire-guided cannulation was performed to achieve biliary access.

Main outcome measurements: The rate of successful biliary cannulation and short-term outcomes.

Limitations: ERCP procedures were performed by a single endoscopist.

Results: Successful bile-duct cannulation with sphincterotomy and the removal of biliary stones or sludge was performed without fluoroscopy in 21 pregnant women. There was one case of mild post-ERCP pancreatitis. Choledochoscopy confirmed ductal clearance in 5 cases.

Conclusions: Nonradiation ERCP is a safe and effective treatment for symptomatic choledocholithiasis during pregnancy. Wire-guided biliary cannulation and choledochoscopy may enhance the performance of ERCP in this setting.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cholangiopancreatography, Endoscopic Retrograde / methods*
  • Choledocholithiasis / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / surgery*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sphincterotomy, Endoscopic
  • Stents