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Palliative endoscopic sphincterotomy was performed on 17 patients with adenocarcinoma of the ampulla of Vater. An endoprosthesis was inserted immediately after the sphincterotomy in four of the patients. Fourteen patients made uncomplicated recoveries from the procedure and their jaundice resolved completely. Early complications developed in three patients. One patient died from haemorrhage. Two patients, both of whom had an endoprosthesis, developed cholangitis. The endoprosthesis was removed and another inserted in one patient and the other underwent surgery. Both thereafter made uncomplicated recoveries. Jaundice subsequently recurred in eight patients and further endoscopic treatment was successful in five of these patients. Eleven patients died between 4 days and 23 months after the sphincterotomy with a median survival of 12 months. Four patients remain alive between 3 and 17 months after treatment. The results indicate that reasonable palliation can be achieved safely by endoscopic sphincterotomy.


Journal article


Br J Surg

Publication Date





160 - 162


Adenocarcinoma, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Ampulla of Vater, Cholangiopancreatography, Endoscopic Retrograde, Cholangitis, Common Bile Duct Neoplasms, Endoscopy, Female, Humans, Jaundice, Male, Palliative Care, Postoperative Complications, Prostheses and Implants, Sphincter of Oddi