What are the Risks of Diagnostic and Therapeutic Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography?

G. Tzovaras, P. Shukla, L. Kow, D. Mounkley, T. Wilson, J. Toouli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) has been practised widely over the last 20 years, and it has revolutionized the diagnosis and management of biliary and pancreatic conditions. More recently newer techniques (magnetic resonance imaging) for diagnosis and therapy (laparoscopic biliary surgery) have evolved. The present paper evaluates the risks of ERCP procedures in a modern setting. Methods: A prospective audit of all ERCP carried out by a single unit across two campuses over 12 months was undertaken. All procedures were included and predetermined morbidity criteria were recorded and evaluated by independent observers who did not perform the procedures. Results: During this period 372 procedures were performed. A total of 9.4% of procedures failed to achieve the preprocedure-stated goal. There were five deaths (30-day mortality of 1.3%) and in 16 patients complications were recorded (morbidity of 4.3%). Two clinical and two technical factors were shown to be associated with the morbidity and mortality by multiple logistic regression analysis: diagnosis of sphincter of Oddi dysfunction; presence of jaundice; need to perform percutaneous transhepatic drainage of an obstructed biliary system after a failed endoscopic approach; and multiple ERCP. Conclusions: These results compare favourably with results from other reported series and serve to illustrate the relative safety of diagostic and therapeutic ERCP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)778-782
Number of pages5
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Surgery
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Biliary
  • Biliary manometry
  • Biliary stent
  • Choledocholithiasis
  • Endoscopic sphincterotomy
  • ERCP
  • Pancreas
  • Pancreatitis
  • Sphincter of Oddi dysfunction


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