Endoscopic Ultrasound for Routine Assessment in Idiopathic Acute Pancreatitis

  • Ryan Pereira
  • Guy Eslick
  • Michael CoxEmail author
Review Article



Acute pancreatitis (AP) is one of the most common general acute surgical presentations. Current recommendations are that idiopathic acute pancreatitis (IAP) should account for no more than 20% of AP cases. Some studies suggest gallbladder microlithiasis is the aetiology in up to 75% of IAP patients. Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) has been reported to be effective in the detection of microlithiasis and choledocholithiasis as well as pancreatic parenchymal, ductal and ampullary disorders. The aims of this study were to evaluate the usefulness of EUS in establishing aetiology in IAP patients and to assess if there is a role for EUS in the selection criteria for laparoscopic cholecystectomy to treat a potential biliary cause in IAP patients.


A systematic review following PRISMA guideline was performed to gather data on patients with IAP undergoing EUS for further investigation. Three databases (MEDLINE, PubMed, and EMBASE) were searched to 28 July 2018.


Our systematic review included 28 studies, comprising 1850 patients with an initial diagnosis of IAP prior to having EUS. Diagnosis of a potential aetiology or associated pancreatic pathology was established in 1095 (62%, p < 0.001) of cases. A biliary aetiology (microlithiasis or choledocholithiasis) was found in 37%. Chronic pancreatitis and associated pancreatic findings (dilated pancreatic duct, pancreatic duct stricture or stone) were found in 21%. Pancreatic neoplasms were found in 6%. Of the patients who had identifiable biliary pathology on EUS that proceeded to cholecystectomy, 2% had a recurrence of AP during a mean follow-up period of 20.5 months.


There is a likely role for the routine use of EUS in the assessment of patients with IAP. The routine use of EUS may decrease the proportion of cases with a diagnosis of IAP. EUS may provide better selection criteria for laparoscopic cholecystectomy in patients with an initial diagnosis of IAP.


Endoscopic ultrasound EUS Idiopathic pancreatitis 


Author Contribution Statement

Ryan Pereira: Established the initial concept of the study; data acquisition, analysis and interpretation; prepared the initial draft of the manuscript; provided approval of the final manuscript; stands accountable for the accuracy and integrity of the manuscript

Guy Eslick: Data analysis and interpretation; reviewed various drafts of the manuscript; provided approval of the final manuscript; stands accountable for the accuracy and integrity of the manuscript

Michael Cox: Developed the concept and study design; data analysis and interpretation; revisions of subsequent drafts of the manuscript; provided approval of the final manuscript; stands accountable for the accuracy and integrity of the manuscript

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© The Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Whiteley-Martin Research Unit, Discipline of Surgery, The University of Sydney, Clinical Sciences BuildingNepean HospitalPenrithAustralia
  2. 2.Department of SurgeryPrincess Alexandra HospitalBrisbaneAustralia
  3. 3.Department of SurgeryNepean HospitalSydneyAustralia

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