Symptoms ercp complications

Symptoms of ERCP Complications

symptoms-ercp-complications ERCPEndoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is beneficial in specific medical cases. However, doctors and patients should be aware of the potential complications after ERCP.

Just because this procedure is common, that doesn’t mean it’s safe for everyone, or that it won’t result in complications.

Before an ERCP, all procedures and their risk factors should be discussed. After an ERCP procedure, the patient should be monitored to ensure that complications do not develop. Patients should be educated on how to recognize symptoms of ERCP complications. Many ERCP complications exhibit similar symptoms, such as fever, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

Symptoms of Pancreatitis after ERCP

Pancreatitis after ERCP is one of the most common ERCP complications. In most cases, pancreatitis after ERCP resolves on its own without intensive medical treatment. However, pancreatitis can be life-threatening in severe cases. One of the primary symptoms of pancreatitis after ERCP is abdominal pain. This pain may occur first in the middle or upper abdomen, then spread to the left shoulder blade or the back.

Symptoms of pancreatitis after ERCP may also include, but are not limited to:

• Fever and chills
• Nausea and vomiting
• Low blood pressure
• Clay-colored stools
• Increased heart and respiratory rate
• Unexplained weight loss and sweating
• Jaundice, or the yellowing of eyes and skin

Infection Symptoms

Infection after ERCP may also develop. Main types of infection after ERCP include cholangitis and cholecystitis. Cholangitis is the infection of the common bile duct, which transmits the body’s bile to the intestines and gallbladder from where bile is created in the liver. Bile duct obstruction or blockage may lead to cholangitis. Cholecystitis is the inflammation of the gallbladder itself. Cholcystitis often occurs due to trapped bile in the gallbladder.

Symptoms of infection are similar to symptoms of pancreatitis after ERCP, including:

• Fever and chills
• Nausea and vomiting
• Darkened urine
• Clay-colored stools
• Jaundice of the skin and eyes

Assessing Risk Factors

Before prescribing an ERCP for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes, doctors should evaluate each patient for certain ERCP risk factors that indicate an increased likelihood for ERCP complications. There are a number of other techniques that may often be used in place of an ERCP. After a thorough evaluation of the patient, certain risk factors may be the defining factor for selecting a different procedure to diagnose or treat the patient’s gastrointestinal issues.

Risk factors for ERCP complications may include, but are not limited to, the following:

• Female gender
• Older age
• Obesity
• Severe systemic disease
• A history of acute or chronic pancreatitis, especially recurrent pancreatitis
• Pancreatitis caused by previous ERCP procedures
• Dysfunction of the sphincter of Oddi, a circular muscle which controls bile and pancreatic juice flow



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Wehler, Markus, et al. “Factors Associated with Health-Related Quality of Life in Chronic Pancreatitis.” The American Journal of Gastroenterology 99.1 (2004): 138-146. MEDLINE with Full Text. Web. 15 Jan. 2014.