Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography in children: A surgeon's perspective
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PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to review the indications, success rate, and complications of endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) in the pediatric age group. METHODS: From 1990 to 1999, 21 ERCP procedures were attempted in 20 patients. They consisted of 8 boys and 12 girls whose age ranged from 4 to 17 years (mean, 11.3 years). Fourteen were performed under deep sedation (mean age, 12.8 years), and 7 were done under general anesthesia (mean age, 7.6 years). All ERCP procedures were performed by experienced adult endoscopists. RESULTS: The indication for ERCP was biliary in 15 patients. Eleven had suspected choledocholithiasis by either ultrasound scan, intraoperative cholangiogram or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In 6 cases, the ERCP was done for pancreatic pathology. In 11 patients, the ERCP was diagnostic only, and in 10 a therapeutic procedure was done. The overall success rate was 90.5%. Post-ERCP complications consisted of 6 episodes of pancreatitis (28.5%), 4 of which followed a therapeutic procedure, and 1 episode of bleeding. Pancreatitis resolved 2 to 6 days post-ERCP. The patients underwent follow-up between 2 and 56 months after the ERCP (mean, 11 months). CONCLUSIONS: The authors conclude that even in experienced hands, ERCP in the pediatric population has a much higher complication rate than in adults (33.3%). We recommend that very specific indications be met before subjecting a pediatric patient to an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography.
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