ERCP In Delhi

ERCP In Delhi

Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography, commonly known as ERCP, is a diagnostic and therapeutic procedure used to examine and treat conditions affecting the bile ducts and pancreas. This minimally invasive procedure combines endoscopy and fluoroscopy to visualize the biliary and pancreatic ducts, allowing for the detection and treatment of various disorders. In this article, we delve into the essentials of ERCP, including its procedure, uses, and associated risks.


Understanding the Procedure:

ERCP is typically performed by gastroenterologists or interventional endoscopists in a specialized endoscopy unit or operating room equipped with fluoroscopy. The procedure involves the following steps:

  1. Preparation: Before the procedure, patients are usually given sedatives and local anesthetics to minimize discomfort. They are instructed to fast for several hours to ensure a clear view of the gastrointestinal tract.
  2. Endoscopic Insertion: A thin, flexible tube called an endoscope is inserted through the mouth, down the esophagus, and into the stomach and duodenum. The endoscope contains a camera and a light source, allowing the physician to visualize the interior of the digestive tract.
  3. Contrast Injection: Once the endoscope reaches the duodenum, a catheter is passed through it and into the bile duct or pancreatic duct. A contrast dye is then injected through the catheter, outlining the ducts on fluoroscopic images.
  4. Imaging: Fluoroscopy, a real-time X-ray imaging technique, is used to capture images of the contrast-filled ducts. These images help identify any abnormalities such as stones, strictures, or tumors.
  5. Therapeutic Interventions: If abnormalities are detected during the procedure, various therapeutic interventions can be performed immediately. These may include removing bile duct or pancreatic duct stones, dilating strictures, or placing stents to relieve blockages.
  6. Completion: Once the necessary diagnostic and therapeutic interventions are completed, the endoscope is carefully removed, and the patient is monitored for any post-procedure complications.

Common Uses of ERCP:

ERCP is a valuable tool in the diagnosis and management of a wide range of biliary and pancreatic disorders. Some common indications for ERCP include:

  1. Bile Duct Stones: ERCP is often used to remove stones lodged in the bile ducts, which can cause symptoms such as jaundice, abdominal pain, and pancreatitis.
  2. Biliary Strictures: Narrowing of the bile ducts due to strictures can be diagnosed and treated using ERCP-guided balloon dilation or stent placement.
  3. Pancreatic Disorders: ERCP can help evaluate and treat conditions affecting the pancreas, such as pancreatitis, pancreatic duct stones, and pancreatic tumors.
  4. Biliary and Pancreatic Tumors: ERCP can be used to obtain tissue samples (biopsies) from suspicious lesions in the bile ducts or pancreas for further analysis.
  5. Biliary and Pancreatic Drainage: In cases of obstructive jaundice or chronic pancreatitis, ERCP can be used to place stents to bypass blockages and improve drainage of bile or pancreatic secretions.

Risks and Complications:

While ERCP is generally considered safe, it carries certain risks, including:

  1. Pancreatitis: The most common complication of ERCP is pancreatitis, which occurs in up to 5% of cases. This inflammation of the pancreas can cause abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and fever.
  2. Bleeding: There is a risk of bleeding, particularly if tissue biopsies are taken or therapeutic interventions such as sphincterotomy (cutting of the sphincter muscle) are performed during ERCP.
  3. Perforation: In rare cases, ERCP can cause perforation (tearing) of the gastrointestinal tract, leading to abdominal pain, infection, and the need for surgical repair.
  4. Infection: As with any invasive procedure, there is a small risk of infection, particularly if the bile ducts or pancreatic ducts are manipulated during ERCP.
  5. Allergic Reactions: Some patients may experience allergic reactions to the contrast dye used during ERCP, although this is rare.


ERCP is a valuable diagnostic and therapeutic tool for evaluating and treating disorders of the biliary and pancreatic systems. By combining endoscopy with fluoroscopy, physicians can visualize the ductal anatomy and perform a variety of interventions to alleviate symptoms and improve patient outcomes. While ERCP carries certain risks, the benefits often outweigh the potential complications, particularly in cases where alternative diagnostic or therapeutic options are limited. As with any medical procedure, careful patient selection, experienced operators, and appropriate post-procedure care are essential to minimize the risks associated with ERCP.

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