ERCP Statistics

Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is a medical procedure that diagnoses and treats conditions affecting the biliary and pancreatic ducts. A number of institutions and researchers have compiled data that analyzes the procedure and related occurrences. While there is no universal set of statistics to discuss ERCP, several sources indicate similar data.

ERCP Indication Statistics

In October 2011, the journal Gastrointestinal Endoscopy published a study that analyzed roughly 40,000 ERCP procedures. Among the data analyzed was the reason that patients underwent an ERCP procedure.

The results of this analysis showed that:

  • 57.3 percent of ERCP procedures were used to treat gallstone-related conditions
  • 12.6 percent of procedures treated cancer-related conditions
  • 2 percent of patients who underwent ERCP experienced both cancer and gallstones
  • 28.1 percent (the remainder) of procedures were due to other causes

Diagnostic vs. Therapeutic ERCP

ERCP can be performed for two main reasons: diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. Diagnostic ERCP is used solely to determine the cause of a certain set of symptoms. Therapeutic ERCP is used to treat the condition using an endoscope. Due to potential risks, many medical professionals recommend ERCP only when it is suspected that treatment can be administered during the initial diagnostic procedure.

  1. Roughly five-to-six percent of diagnostic ERCP patients experience complications.
  2. Roughly four-to-ten percent of therapeutic ERCP patients experience complications.

ERCP Complication Statistics

ERCP procedures may cause a variety of health complications that may become life-threatening. For this reason, ERCP procedure should only be prescribed under certain medical conditions. To estimate a patient’s risk for ERCP complications, doctors now have access to thorough research conducted over long periods of time to specify ERCP health risk statistics.

Pancreatitis after ERCP

Pancreatitis is a common complication of ERCP. In most cases, pancreatitis is mild and improves with little medical attention. However, some cases of pancreatitis can be life-threatening. Severe cases of pancreatitis after ERCP require extensive medical care in a hospital setting. Failure to provide a severe pancreatitis patient with proper care will typically result in death.

  1. Roughly one in 10 to 15 patients who exhibit a healthy pancreas develops pancreatitis after ERCP.
  2. Of the patients who develop pancreatitis after ERCP, about one-to-three percent suffer severe cases.
  3. When severe pancreatitis after ERCP causes multiple organ dysfunction, the mortality rate can reach 20-to-30 percent.

Other ERCP Complications

ERCP procedures have a wide range of complications from mild to deadly. Severe complications after ERCP may include infection, and organ perforation. While deadly ERCP complications are rare, patients should be aware of all possible complications and their symptoms before undergoing an ERCP procedure.

  1. It is estimated that six-to-ten percent of ERCP patients experience complications.
  2. Organ perforation occurs in roughly one percent of ERCP patients.
  3. When organ perforation occurs, the mortality rate can reach 16-to-18 percent.
  4. Blood vessel eruption during or after ERCP carries a 30-to-40 percent mortality rate.
  5. While cardiopulmonary complications may occur, they are rare with a one-percent occurrence rate.

ERCP Death

  1. About 37 percent of ERCP deaths occur within the first week after the procedure was performed.
  2. During the second week, roughly 30 percent of death after ERCP occurs.


Bodger, Keith, et al. “All-cause mortality after first ERCP in England: clinically guided analysis of hospital episode statistics with linkage to registry of death.” Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. 74.4 (2011): 825-833. Print.

“Complications and Death.” National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death. National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death. Web. 11 Jul 2013. <>.

Cotton, Peter B. “Procedures: ERCP.” MUSC Health Digestive Disease Center. MUSC Digestive Disease Center, 31 May 2013. Web. 11 Jul 2013. <>.

Cotton, Peter B, et al. “Risk factors for complications after ERCP: a multivariate analysis of 11,497 procedures over 12 years.” Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. 70.1 (2009): 80-88. Web. 11 Jul. 2013. <>.

Drah, M.A., M.J. Maida, and Y. Sorour. “Review of ERCP in a small unit.” Gut 53.4 (2004): A45. Academic OneFile. Web. 11 Jul 2013.

“ERCP.” National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 29 Jun 2012. Web. 11 Jul 2013. <>.

Fiocca, Fausto, et al. “ERCP and acute pancreatitis.” European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences. 6. (2002): 13-17. Print.

Mullen, P.J. “Audit of ERCP in a Small Unit.” Gut 48.3 (2001): A95. Academic OneFile. Web. 11 Jul 2013.