Intraductal balloon-guided direct peroral cholangioscopy with an ultraslim upper endoscope (with videos)

Gastrointest Endosc. 2009 Aug;70(2):297-302. doi: 10.1016/j.gie.2008.11.019. Epub 2009 Apr 25.


Background: Peroral cholangioscopy (POC) provides direct visualization of the bile duct and facilitates diagnostic procedures and therapeutic intervention. The currently available mother-baby endoscope system is not widely used because of several limitations. Although direct cholangioscopy with an ultraslim upper endoscope with a guidewire has been reported, success is not always guaranteed.

Objective: To evaluate the feasibility and success rate of direct POC using an ultraslim endoscope with an intraductal balloon to maintain access compared with the guidewire method.

Design: Prospective, observational clinical feasibility study.

Setting: Tertiary referral center.

Main outcome measurements: We compared overall procedure success rates and complications. A successful procedure was defined as one in which the endoscope was advanced into the bifurcation or stenotic segment of the biliary system.

Patients and methods: Twenty-nine patients with biliary disease underwent direct POC. All patients had previously undergone an endoscopic sphincterotomy or papillary balloon dilation with a large balloon. Eleven patients underwent wire-guided direct POC. Intraductal balloon-guided direct POC was performed in 21 patients. The balloon catheter was used to maintain access while an ultraslim upper endoscope was advanced over the balloon catheter, through the ampulla of Vater, and directly into the bile duct.

Results: Wire-guided direct POC was successful in 5 of 11 (45.5%) patients. In contrast, the success rate of intraductal balloon-guided direct POC was 95.2% (20/21 patients, P < .05). Forceps biopsies under direct visualization of the intraductal lesion and therapeutic intervention, including laser lithotripsy or electrohydraulic lithotripsy, were performed successfully. Procedure-related complications were not observed.

Limitations: A small number of patients and no comparison with conventional cholangioscopy.

Conclusions: Intraductal balloon-guided direct POC with an ultraslim upper endoscope allows the direct visual examination and therapeutic intervention of bile ducts in patients with biliary disease. Further development of the endoscopic apparatus and specialized accessories are expected to facilitate this procedure.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bile Duct Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Catheterization*
  • Endoscopy, Digestive System / instrumentation*
  • Endoscopy, Digestive System / methods*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Video Recording