Early recognition of post-ERCP pancreatitis by clinical assessment and serum pancreatic enzymes

Am J Gastroenterol. 1996 Aug;91(8):1553-7.


Background: This study evaluates the relative value of clinical assessment and serum pancreatic enzymes in the discharge management of outpatients undergoing ERCP.

Methods: Two hundred thirty-one patients who underwent ERCP had a detailed clinical assessment performed 2 h after the procedure and blood drawn for amylase and lipase.

Results: One-third of the patients who later developed pancreatitis had no pain 2 h after the end of the procedure, whereas an equal number who had no pancreatitis did complain of pain. Values below 276 U/L for amylase and 1000 U/L for lipase were useful in ruling out pancreatitis with negative predictive values of 0.97 and 0.98, respectively. Based on the data of this study a discharge algorithm for outpatients undergoing ERCP is proposed.

Conclusions: In contrast to clinical assessment, which is unreliable, it is possible to stratify patients according to their risk of developing pancreatitis according to their 2-h serum amylase and lipase values. This helps to rationalize the discharge management of outpatients undergoing ERCP at a time when careful utilization of resources, especially the avoidance of unnecessary hospital admissions, becomes increasingly more important.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain / etiology
  • Algorithms
  • Ambulatory Care
  • Amylases / blood*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cholangiopancreatography, Endoscopic Retrograde / adverse effects*
  • Clinical Enzyme Tests*
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Humans
  • Lipase / blood*
  • Pancreatitis / diagnosis*
  • Pancreatitis / etiology*
  • Patient Discharge
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Time Factors


  • Lipase
  • Amylases