Risk of post-sphincterotomy bleeding with antiplatelet and anticoagulant use: a propensity-matched analysis of the U.S. Collaborative Network

Gastrointest Endosc. 2023 Jun;97(6):1129-1136.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.gie.2023.01.043. Epub 2023 Jan 30.


Background and aims: GI bleeding after ERCP is a serious adverse event and most commonly occurs after endoscopic biliary and/or pancreatic sphincterotomy. Although the strength of available evidence for post-sphincterotomy GI bleeding risk is high for therapeutic warfarin and heparin, it remains unknown for antiplatelet agents like clopidogrel and prasugrel. We conducted a retrospective United States-based, propensity-matched cohort study to assess the risk of post-sphincterotomy bleeding in patients receiving anticoagulant (AC) and antiplatelet (APT) therapy.

Methods: We analyzed the U.S. Collaborative Network in the TriNetX platform through December 27, 2022, to include patients receiving APT and AC therapy who underwent ERCP within 7 days of hospitalization. One-to-one propensity score matching was performed. The primary outcome was the incidence of GI bleeding within 7 days of sphincterotomy. Secondary outcomes included need for blood transfusion, intensive care unit care, and all-cause mortality within 30 days of bleeding.

Results: Overall, 2806 patients (1806 in the AC cohort and 1000 in the APT cohort) underwent ERCP with sphincterotomy. One-to-one propensity score matching was performed for age, body mass index ≥30 kg/m2, gender, race, ethnicity, diabetes mellitus, nicotine dependence, presence and severity of chronic kidney disease, cirrhosis, and thrombocytopenia between the cohorts. Patients in both cohorts had an increased risk of post-sphincterotomy bleeding compared with matched control subjects (adjusted odds ratios of 3.6 [95% confidence interval, 2.58-5.06] and 2.2 [95% confidence interval, 1.43-3.56], respectively). Although heparin bridging therapy and concurrent use of aspirin did not further increase the risk of GI bleeding, resumption of AC within 24 hours' postprocedure did. Neither cohort of patients was at an increased risk for blood transfusion, intensive care unit care, or all-cause mortality.

Conclusions: Our database analysis shows that patients receiving AC and APT therapy are at a higher risk of post-sphincterotomy bleeding compared with matched control subjects. An appropriate drug cessation period or alternative biliary decompression modalities may be used in these patients.

MeSH terms

  • Anticoagulants* / adverse effects
  • Cohort Studies
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / epidemiology
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Heparin / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sphincterotomy* / adverse effects
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Anticoagulants
  • Heparin