Irish Journal of Medical Science

, Volume 170, Issue 3, pp 176–180 | Cite as

Diagnostic and therapeutic ERCP: a large single centre’s experience

  • R. J. Farrell
  • N. Mahmud
  • N. Noonan
  • D. Kelleher
  • P. W. N. Keeling
Original Paper



Most large published series on endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) are multicentrebased and consequently reflect varying experience.


To assess morbidity and mortality rates of ERCP in a single tertiary referral centre.


A series of 1,758 consecutive ERCPs performed in 1,148 patients between 1991 and 1994 were reviewed to evaluate indications, findings, procedures, success, complication and mortality rates.


There were 1,108 (63%) successful initial ERCPs, 11% failed cannulation attempts and 26% follow-up ERCPs. The desired duct was successfully cannulated in 96.5% of cases. Initial cannulation failure rate was 8.8%. Twenty-seven per cent had normal ERCPs, 30% had choledocholithiasis and 22% had strictures. Fifty-five per cent had therapeutic ERCPs. Major complications occurred in 3.5% with four ERCP-related deaths (0.35%). Therapeutic ERCP had a higher incidence of major complications compared to diagnostic ERCP: 4.6% vs 2.1%, (p=0.02); and mortality rate was 0.5% vs 0.2%, (p=0.4). Significant haemorrhage secondary to biliary sphincterotomy, pre-cut papillotomy and snare papillectomy accounted for most of the difference (1.6%).


The majority of ERCPs were performed in elderly patients, over half of whom required therapeutic ERCP. Therapeutic ERCP carried significantly higher complication rate compared with diagnostic ERCP. Unsuccessful cannulation and follow-up ERCP accounted for 11% and 26% of ERCP workload, respectively.


Pancreatitis Common Bile Duct Bile Duct Stone Endoscopic Sphincterotomy Oddi Dysfunction 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. J. Farrell
    • 1
  • N. Mahmud
    • 1
  • N. Noonan
    • 1
  • D. Kelleher
    • 1
  • P. W. N. Keeling
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Medicine and GastroenterologyTrinity College Dublin, St James’s HospitalDublinIreland

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