Role of endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography in the management of suspected choledocholithiasis

S. K. Sharma, K. A. Larson, Z. Adler, M. A. Goldfarb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Background: Indications for endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) are not precisely defined. With the increasing availability of magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) and several prospective studies proving the accuracy of this modality, it is important to select appropriate criteria for invasive testing when common bile duct (CBD) pathology is suspected. Methods: We reviewed 200 consecutive ERCPs performed for jaundice, pancreatitis, noninvasive visualization of CBD stones, radiologic evidence of CBD dilatation, elevated liver function tests, or biliary colic. Diagnostic and therapeutic yields are determined for each indication and various combinations thereof. Results: Of the 180 ERCPs performed for suspected choledocholithiasis, 97 (53.8%) were performed for multiple indications, whereas 83 (46.2%) were performed for only one indication. One hundred two patients (56.6%) had CBD pathology, whereas 78 explorations (43.4%) were negative. If multiple indications for ERCP were present, the diagnostic yield was 85.6%. When there was only one indication, the diagnostic yield decreased to 25.3%. Conclusions: ERCP is an invasive procedure with significant morbidity that should be used selectively. MRCP may be a more appropriate initial evaluation of suspected CBD pathology in many patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)868-871
Number of pages4
JournalSurgical Endoscopy and Other Interventional Techniques
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2003


  • Choledocholithiasis
  • Common bile duct
  • Endoscopic retro grade cholangiopancreatography
  • Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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