Technical and clinical outcomes of endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) procedures performed in patients with COVID-19

Therap Adv Gastroenterol. 2020 Dec 21:13:1756284820980671. doi: 10.1177/1756284820980671. eCollection 2020.


Background: The unprecedented situation caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has profoundly affected endoscopic practice in regard to access, volume, and workflow. We aimed to assess the potential changes in the technical outcomes of endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) procedures carried out in patients with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Methods: We conducted an international, multicenter, retrospective, matched case-control study of ERCP procedures carried out in patients with confirmed COVID-19. The main outcome was technical success of the procedure as assessed by the endoscopist, and the secondary outcome was the development of procedure-related adverse events. Each case was matched in a 1:4 ratio with controls extracted from each center's database in order to identify relevant changes in outcome measures compared with the pre-pandemic era.

Results: Eighteen procedures performed in 16 COVID-19 patients [14 men, 65 years (9-82)] and 67 controls were included in the final analysis. Technical success was achieved in 14/18 COVID-19 cases, which was significantly lower as compared with the control group (14/18 versus 64/67, p = 0.034), with an endoscopic reintervention required in 9/18 cases. However, the rate of procedure-related adverse events was low in both groups (1/18 versus 10/67, p = 0.44). On multivariable analysis, COVID-19 status remained the only risk factor for technical failure of the procedure [odds ratio of 19.9 (95% confidence interval 1.4-269.0)].

Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the volume and practice of ERCP, resulting in lower technical success rates without significantly impacting patient safety. Prioritizing cases and following recommendations on safety measures can ensure good outcome with minimal risk in dedicated centers.

Keywords: COVID-19; ERCP; training.