2016-06-16 18:10:06 UTC

ERCP 103: Preparation

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There are important steps you must take to safely get ready for your ERCP. These are general instructions. Be sure to follow any instructions given to you by your doctor. 

Your doctor or nurse will review the steps with you, make sure that you know how to get ready, and what you can expect during and after the test. If you have any questions, bring them up with the doctor or nurse. 

  • Give your doctor a list of all the medications you are taking and any allergies you have.
    • The list should include both prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, like aspirin, NSAIDs, or vitamins and supplements.
    • Ask your doctor before the test if any of your medications can be taken on the day of your ERCP.
    • Ask your doctor before the test if any of your medications should not be taken before your ERCP.
    • Ask your doctor before the test if you should take your medications the night before your ERCP.
  • Tell your doctor if you:
    • Have diabetes and what medications you are on for it.
    • Are taking blood thinners or have bleeding or blood-clotting problems.
    • Have a pacemaker or other implanted electromedical devices.
    • Have had stomach or bowel surgery, swallowing problems or other gastrointestinal (GI) problems.
    • Have heart, lung or any other health problems that may need special care before the test.
  • Do not eat or drink anything for at least six hours before the test. If it is scheduled for first thing in the morning, do not eat or drink anything after midnight. If you do not remember the time of your appointment, call your doctor.
  • Since you will be given medicine to block pain and make you feel sleepy (sedation), do not drive a car, work or make important decisions after the test. Most patients resume their normal activities the following day. Your doctor can provide specific instructions.
  • You must have someone with you to review the discharge instructions and to drive you home after the test.
  • Plan to rest at home for the rest of the day after your test. 

ERCP can be done as an outpatient procedure, but some people may need to go to a hospital based on their individual cases. Be sure you know exactly where you need to go the day of your procedure as it may not be at your doctor's office.

Ask your doctor or nurse if there is anything you do not understand. 

ERCP – What to Know:
  • ERCP can help with finding the cause of jaundice (when your skin and/or the whites of your eyes turn yellow) or pancreatitis, swelling of your pancreas.
  • ERCP is used to look at your pancreas and pancreatic duct, bile duct system, gallbladder, and duodenum (part of your small intestine).
  • ERCP can be used to look for and treat health issues in the GI tract.


© AGA, September 2017

©AGA, July 2016

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