Endoscopy 2002; 34(4): 293-298
DOI: 10.1055/s-2002-23650
Original Article

© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

ERCP-Related Perforations: Risk Factors and Management

R.  Enns 1 , M.  A.  Eloubeidi 2 , K.  Mergener 3 , P.  S.  Jowell 4 , M.  S.  Branch 4 , T.  M.  Pappas 2, 5 , J.  Baillie 4
  • 1Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
  • 2Department of Gastroesterology and Hepatology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA
  • 3Gastroenterology Section, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington, USA
  • 4Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA
  • 5Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA
Further Information

Publication History

14 May 2001

3 November 2001

Publication Date:
03 April 2002 (online)

Background and Study Aims: Perforations during endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) are rare, and the management of these perforations is variable, with some patients requiring immediate surgery and others only conservative management. We reviewed all ERCP-related perforations at our institution to determine: a) their incidence; b) clinical outcomes; c) which management approaches gave the best results; and d) which factors predict a perforation.
Patients and Methods: All patients who underwent ERCP and suffered perforation were reviewed. To compare the length of hospital stay of the perforation group with that of patients suffering a different complication, patients who developed post-ERCP pancreatitis were also reviewed. To evaluate predictors of ERCP-related perforations, three groups were compared: group 1 (n = 49), normal ERCP/no complications; group 2 (n = 52), ERCP complicated by pancreatitis; and group 3 (n = 33), ERCP with perforation.
Results: Of 33 patients with confirmed ERCP-related perforations, only seven patients required surgical intervention. The overall length of hospital stay (6.5 ± 3.5 days) was significantly longer (P = 0.003) than that of a random group of patients with the complication of post-ERCP pancreatitis (4.7 ± 2.6 days). According to univariate analysis, risk factors included: sphincterotomy (odds ratio [OR] 9.0, 95 % confidence interval [CI] 3.2 - 28.1); sphincter of Oddi dysfunction (OR 3.8, 95 % CI 1.4 - 11.0); and dilated common bile duct (OR 4.07, 95 % CI 1.63 - 10.18, P = 0.003). In the multivariate logistic regression analysis, additional predictive factors included the duration of procedure (OR 1.021, 95 % CI 1.006 - 1.036), and biliary stricture dilation (OR 7.2, 95 % CI 1.84 - 28.11).
Conclusions: (i) The incidence of ERCP-related perforations is very low (0.35 %). (ii) Esophageal, gastric and duodenal perforations usually require surgery, but sphincterotomy- and guide wire-related perforations rarely do so. (iii) Factors which carry increased risk of an ERCP-related perforation include suspected sphincter of Oddi dysfunction, greater age, a dilated bile duct, sphincterotomy, and longer duration of the procedure.


R. Enns, M.D.

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