Background: Pancreaticobiliary disease in pregnancy is relatively uncommon. The frequency of choledocholithiasis in pregnancy requiring intervention has been reported to be as low as one in 1200 deliveries. Traditionally, intervention in these patients has been surgical. Although surgery has an overall low morbidity and mortality for the expectant mother, it carries with it a 4- to 6-wk recovery period and a possibly increased risk of fetal wastage. Published information regarding the role and safety of ERCP in pregnancy is limited. This series of 23 pregnant patients undergoing ERCP was collected from six different medical centers.
Methods: Twenty-three pregnant patients with symptomatic pancreaticobiliary disease underwent a total of 29 ERCPs (three patients had diagnostic ERCP, and 20 had therapeutic ERCP). Fifteen, eight, and six procedures were performed in the first, second, and third trimesters, respectively. The only ERCP complication was pancreatitis in one patient. There was one spontaneous abortion (3 months after ERCP) and one neonatal death; however, casual relationship to ERCP was not apparent.
Conclusion: Diagnostic and therapeutic ERCP appears reasonably safe and effective in pregnancy. Cautious and selective use of this procedure offers a viable alternative to surgery or observation in patients with emergent pancreaticobiliary problems.