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AIM: To investigate the outcome of repeating endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreaticography (ERCP) after initially failed precut sphincterotomy to achieve biliary cannulation. METHODS: In this retrospective study, consecutive ERCPs performed between January 2009 and September 2012 were included. Data from our endoscopy and radiology reporting databases were analysed for use of precut sphincterotomy, biliary access rate, repeat ERCP rate and complications. Patients with initially failed precut sphincterotomy were identified. RESULTS: From 1839 consecutive ERCPs, 187 (10%) patients underwent a precut sphincterotomy during the initial ERCP in attempts to cannulate a native papilla. The initial precut was successful in 79/187 (42%). ERCP was repeated in 89/108 (82%) of patients with failed initial precut sphincterotomy after a median interval of 4 d, leading to successful biliary cannulation in 69/89 (78%). In 5 patients a third ERCP was attempted (successful in 4 cases). Overall, repeat ERCP after failed precut at the index ERCP was successful in 73/89 patients (82%). Complications after precut-sphincterotomy were observed in 32/187 (17%) patients including pancreatitis (13%), retroperitoneal perforations (1%), biliary sepsis (0.5%) and haemorrhage (3%). CONCLUSION: The high success rate of biliary cannulation in a second attempt ERCP justifies repeating ERCP within 2-7 d after unsuccessful precut sphincterotomy before more invasive approaches should be considered.

Original publication




Journal article


World J Gastroenterol

Publication Date





13153 - 13158


Choledocholithiasis, Endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreaticography, Mortality, Post-endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreaticography pancreatitis, Precut sphincterotomy, Biliary Tract Diseases, Catheterization, Cholangiopancreatography, Endoscopic Retrograde, Female, Humans, Kaplan-Meier Estimate, Male, Retreatment, Retrospective Studies, Risk Factors, Sphincterotomy, Endoscopic, Time Factors, Treatment Failure