Background: The success rate of repeat endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) by the same endoscopist after a failed initial attempt is unknown. It has been suggested that a repeat examination at a tertiary referral center be performed after an unsuccessful attempt. Our aim was to determine the success rate of repeat ERCP at a different endoscopic session by the same endoscopist and the outcomes among patients with a failed index procedure.
Methods: A review of 500 consecutive ERCP procedures was performed at a teaching institution.
Results: The overall initial success rate for cannulation of the duct of interest was 90.8% at index endoscopy. Endoscopy was repeated after 51% unsuccessful procedures, and access to the desired duct was achieved in 87.5% of repeat attempts. A needle knife was used in 21% instances, and its use facilitated cannulation of the duct of interest in 80%. No complications occurred with repeat ERCP. Of the 3 patients who underwent failed repeated ERCP, 1 was not available for the follow-up study, 1 had metastatic cancer, and the other had pancreas divisum. The outcomes among patients who did not undergo repeat ERCP included malignant disease diagnosed with other imaging techniques (35% of patients) and no further admissions or emergency room visits for suspected pancreaticobiliary symptoms (39% of patients).
Conclusions: Repeat ERCP by the same endoscopist yields an 87.5% success rate. This leads to an overall success rate of 95%.