A girl holding her stomach with pain

Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)

15/06/2022

Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is a test that uses a combination of X-rays and an endoscope to examine and treat problems that affect the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, pancreatic ducts and bile ducts.

The doctor may recommend ERCP if you have -

  • Unexplained abdominal pain or jaundice
  • Blockages or stones in the bile ducts, gallstones
  • Fluid leakage from the bile or pancreatic ducts
  • Narrowing of pancreatic ducts
  • Tumors or other infections

Before you undergo an ERCP procedure, it's important to get all of your questions answered by an expert gastroenterologist. One should talk with a doctor on –

  • Present Allergies/ Medical Conditions that one may have
  • Prescribed Vitamin Tablets/ Supplements being taken
  • Blood Pressure Medicines, Diabetes Medicine, Blood Thinners, Arthritis Medicine etc.

Your doctor may ask you to temporarily stop taking medicines that affect blood clotting or interact with sedatives. This is because you typically receive sedatives during ERCP to help you relax and stay comfortable.

During the Procedure –

  • An intravenous (IV) line will be put in your arm or hand to administer the anaesthesia.
  • Your doctor numbs your throat with an anaesthetic spray.
  • Doctor will insert the endoscope into your mouth and guides it through the oesophagus and stomach to reach the upper part of the small intestine (duodenum).
  • The camera at the tip of the endoscope enables your doctor to view and photograph the insides of your digestive tract.
  • Pumps air through the endoscope into the stomach and duodenum to make it easier to see organs.
  • Once the endoscope reaches the bile duct and pancreatic duct, the doctor will insert a small tube called catheter into the endoscope and injects a special dye through the catheter.
  • Takes video gastrointestinal X-rays (fluoroscopy) as the dye travels through the ducts.
  • Checks for signs of blockage or problems.
  • For treatment, your doctor may break up and remove stones, place stents to open, blocked or narrow ducts

ERCP is generally a safe procedure. Complications are uncommon but can include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
  • Perforation (tear) in the intestine
  • Reaction to anaesthesia

Risks are higher for people who have:

  • A history of pancreatitis
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Scarring from previous abdominal surgery

After the procedure –

  • You may have a sore throat and pain with swallowing for a few days.
  • Once your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing are normal and you are conscious, you will be discharged home.

Contact our experts at Gleneagles Global Hospital, Lakdikapul, if you are suffering from any of the below symptoms

  • Chest pain or difficulty in breathing.
  • Fever, or any other signs of infection.
  • Severe abdominal pain or sore throat.
  • Signs of rectal bleeding, such as dark, tarry-looking stool.
  • Vomiting – particularly, if your vomit is bloody or looks like coffee grounds

Our team of highly skilled gastroenterologists are here to help you through every step of your treatment. We offer a range of treatments and services to meet your needs, and we're dedicated to providing you with the highest level of care possible. Enquire Now at Gleneagles Global, Lakdikapul, Department of Gastroenterology, to know more.

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