Failed biliary cannulation: Clinical and technical outcomes after tertiary referral endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography

Michael P. Swan, Michael J. Bourke, Stephen J. Williams, Sina Alexander, Alan Moss, Rick Hope, David Ruppin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


AIM: Prospective evaluation of repeat endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) for failed Schutz grade 1 biliary cannulation in a high-volume center. METHODS: Prospective intention-to-treat analysis of patients referred for biliary cannulation following recent unsuccessful ERCP. RESULTS: Fifty-one patients (35 female; mean age: 62.5 years; age range: 40-87 years) with previous failed biliary cannulation were referred for repeat ERCP. The indication for ERCP was primarily choledocholithiasis (45%) or pancreatic malignancy (18%). Successful biliary cannulation was 100%. The precut needle knife sphincterotomy (NKS) rate was 27.4%. Complications occurred in 3.9% (post-ERCP pancreatitis). An identifiable reason for initial unsuccessful biliary cannulation was present in 55% of cases. Compared to a cohort of 940 naïve papilla patients (female 61%; mean age: 59.9 years; age range: 18-94 years) who required sphincterotomy over the same time period, there was no statistical difference in the cannulation success rate (100% vs 98%) or post-ERCP pancreatitis (3.1% vs 3.9%). Precut NKS use was more frequent (27.4% vs 12.7%) (P = 0.017). CONCLUSION: Referral to a high-volume center following unsuccessful ERCP is associated with high technical success, with a favorable complication rate, compared to routine ERCP procedures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4993-4998
Number of pages6
JournalWorld Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number45
Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Biliary cannulation
  • Failed biliary cannulation
  • Failed endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography
  • Needle knife sphincterotomy
  • Post endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography pancreatitis
  • Precut sphincterotomy
  • Tertiary referral endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography
  • Unsuccessful biliary cannulation

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