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Comparison of standard and steerable catheters for bile duct cannulation in ERCP



Comparison of standard and steerable catheters for bile duct cannulation in ERCP



Endoscopy 35(8): 669-674



The aim of the study was to compare two steerable endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) catheters with regard to speed and safety in cannulating the common bile duct. A standard cannula, a short-nosed sphincterotome, and a bendable catheter were used. At two tertiary centres, a total of 312 patients were randomly assigned to receive treatment with one of three catheters and either by a trainee or an expert endoscopist. When cannulation failed, a further attempt was made with a different catheter. If this failed, a change in operator or other manoeuvres followed. The following were assessed: time to cholangiography and deep cannulation, number of attempts and success rates of cannulation, number of pancreatic duct injections, success of catheter cross-over, and complication rates. Both steerable catheters were significantly better for the initial cholangiogram than the standard catheter (standard catheter 75 %, bendable catheter 84 %, sphincterotome 88 %; P = 0.038), with no significant differences between the bendable catheter and the sphincterotome. Both were also better for deep cannulation of the bile duct (standard cannula 66 %, bendable catheter 69 %, sphincterotome 78 %; P = 0.15). When the standard catheter failed, a steerable catheter succeeded in 26 % of cases. Trainees experienced greater benefit from using steerable catheters. For experts, the bendable catheter was the quickest to achieve cholangiography and deep cannulation. Further manoeuvres had an 85-90 % success rate in allowing biliary access. Twenty of 23 needle-knife papillotomies (87 %) were successful when other methods had failed. The overall ERCP success rate was 97 %. Pancreatitis occurred in 5.3 % of cases. Steerable catheters allow faster access and can succeed when a standard catheter fails. If cannulation is difficult, changing the catheter should be considered at an early stage. Needle-knife papillotomy is a successful technique in expert hands.

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Accession: 048605785

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 12929062

DOI: 10.1055/s-2003-41515



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