ERCP in critically ill patients is safe and does not increase mortality

Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is the gold standard for minimally-invasive treatment of biliary or pancreatic tract disease. When treating patients on intensive care units (ICU) with ERCP, interventionalists are faced with considerably higher morbidity compared to patients in ambulatory settings. However, data on complications and outcome of critical ill patients undergoing emergency ERCP are limited. A retrospective analysis of 102 patients treated on ICUs undergoing 121 ERCP procedures at the University Hospital of Essen, Germany between 2002 and 2016 was performed. Indications, interventional success, outcome including survival and procedure-related complications were analyzed. Patients' condition pre-ERCP was categorized by using the "Simplified Acute Physiology Score" (SAPS 3).66/102 patients (64.7%) were referred to ERCP from surgical ICU, 36/102 (35.3%) from nonsurgical ICU. The majority of patients were male (63.7%), the mean age was 54.1 ± 14.9 [21-88] years. Indications for ERCP were biliary complications after liver transplantation (n = 34, 33.3%), biliary leakage after hepatobiliary surgery (n = 32, 31.4%), and cholangitis/biliary sepsis (n = 36; 35.3%), respectively. 117/121 (96.7%) ERCPs were successful, 1 patient (1.0%) died during ERCP. Post-ERCP pancreatitis occurred in 11.8% of interventions. The median simplified acute physiology score 3 was 65 points, predicting a risk-adjusted estimated mortality of 48.8%, corresponding to an observed mortality of 52.2% (P = n.s.).ERCP is safe in critically ill patients on ICU, it does not increase overall mortality rate and has a relatively low rate of procedure-associated complications.


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