Biliary symptoms and complications more than 8 years after endoscopic sphincterotomy for choledocholithiasis

Gastroenterology. 1996 Mar;110(3):894-9. doi: 10.1053/gast.1996.v110.pm8608900.


Background & aims: Although long-term results of endoscopic sphincterotomy (ES) have been poorly estimated, extended indications of ES have been proposed, especially in young patients. The aim of this study was to assess late biliary complications of ES.

Methods: Between 1981 and 1986, 169 patients younger than age 70 (55+/-11.8 years; range, 24-70 years; male-female sex ration, 0.55) underwent ES for choledocholithiasis. One hundred fifteen patients (68%) underwent cholecystectomy. Long-term data were obtained retrospectively from the patients and general practitioners.

Results: Information was obtained for 156 patients, 2 of whom died within 1 month (one ES-related death). The mean follow-up for 154 patients was 9.6+/-3.3 years (range 8-13 years); 138 patients had no biliary symptoms. During follow-up, 16 patients experienced biliary symptoms; 2 of these patients underwent elective cholecystectomy, 3 had malignant strictures, 1 had a complicated cirrhosis, and 1 had a benign stricture related to the previous cholecystectomy. Nine patients developed potentially ES-related biliary symptoms. Second endoscopic exploration showed papillary stenosis in 3 patients (with stones in 2 patients) and recurrent bile duct stones in 3 others. Two patients had sine materia cholangitis, and 1 patient developed liver abscesses.

Conclusions: Long-term ES-related complications seem to be rare, ES could reasonably be included in management strategies of choledocholithiasis, even in young patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biliary Tract Diseases / etiology*
  • Cholangitis / etiology
  • Cholecystectomy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gallstones / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sphincterotomy, Endoscopic / adverse effects*