2016-06-16 18:14:54 UTC

ERCP 106: Safety

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Safety/Adverse Reactions of an ERCP

Be sure to talk to your doctor about your risk and any concerns you may have.

  • Depending on your case, ERCP can have a 5 to 10 percent risk of complications. 
  • In rare cases, severe complications may call for hospitalization.
  • Mild to severe inflammation (swelling) of the pancreas can happen. This is known as acute pancreatitis.
    • You may need go to hospital for treatment.
    • You may need surgery. 
  • Bleeding can happen in an ERCP, especially if a sphincterotomy is performed. 
    • This bleeding usually stops on its own.
  • A puncture or tear of the bowel wall or bile duct is a rare problem that can happen.
  • Infection can happen. 
    • Treatment for infection is antibiotics and restoring drainage if there is a block. 
    • There have been reports of antibiotic-resistant infections that come from the endoscope tool used. The FDA has worked with endoscope manufacturers and provided strict guidelines for cleaning and disinfection. Talk to your doctor about concerns on this issue.
  • You may have a reaction to any of the medications used during ERCP, but these are mostly minor.

If you have any of these symptoms after your ERCP, call your doctor right away.

  • Severe pain in your upper abdomen and/or back area that isn’t helped by pain medicine.
  • Severe nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Trouble swallowing.
  • Bloody, black or tarry stool.
  • Chills or fever over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
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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