An appraisal of endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) for pancreaticobiliary disease in children: Our institutional experience in 231 cases

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Surgical Endoscopy








Endoscopic cholangiopancreatography; ERCP; Pediatrics


Background: Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is an important tool used by clinicians in the diagnosis and management of pancreaticobiliary disease. The safety and utility of ERCP for adults has been well documented. However, experience with ERCP for pediatric patients remains limited. This study aimed to examine the utility and safety of ERCP for diagnosis and therapy in pediatric surgical conditions. Methods: An institutional review board-approved retrospective chart review of all children younger than 21 years who underwent ERCP at a single children's hospital between 1992 and 2008 was performed. Age, sex, medical history, presenting symptoms, laboratory values, and discharge diagnoses were recorded. The ERCP findings, interventions performed, complications, and associated surgical procedures also were recorded. Results: A total of 231 ERCPs were performed for 167 children (98 girls and 69 boys) ages 62 days to 21 years. The mean patient age was 11.4 years, with 11% (n = 18) of the ERCPs performed for children younger than 2 years. Common indications for ERCP included chronic or recurrent pancreatitis (n = 106), acute pancreatitis (n = 42), and choledocholithiasis (n = 26). Additional indications included choledochal cyst (n = 2), congenital biliary obstruction (n = 2), and malignant biliary obstruction (n = 1). Therapeutic interventions were performed in 159 cases (69%) including sphincterotomy (n = 96), stone extraction (n = 55), and stent insertion (n = 52). Complications occurred for only 11 patients (4.76%), including 7 cases of post-ERCP pancreatitis. The use of ERCP for imaging resulted in surgical procedures in 58 cases. Conclusion: Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography was used most commonly for children with pancreatitis and gallstone disease. It was used frequently for infants with a low complication rate. The majority of patients required therapeutic intervention, suggesting an important role for ERCP in the management of pancreaticobiliary disease in infants and children. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

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