Prediction of pancreatitis following endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography by the 4-h post procedure amylase level

Peter R. Thomas, Shomik Sengupta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Pancreatitis is the commonest and most significant complication of endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). Early detection of post-ERCP pancreatitis would allow the safe discharge of day-case patients and targeted use of preventive therapies. Clinical diagnosis is inaccurate, and the aim of this study was to evaluate the 4-h post-ERCP hyperamylasemia as a predictor of pancreatitis. Methods: Two hundred and sixty-three consecutive ERCPs performed at one center were prospectively analyzed, examining patient and procedure characteristics, as well as the amylase level as predictors of pancreatitis. Results: Younger age (< 25 years), Sphincter of Oddi dysfunction, pancreatogram and failed cannulation were risk factors for pancreatitis; sphincterotomy conferred an increased risk, which was not statistically significant. Hyperamylasemia was a highly sensitive and moderately specific predictor of pancreatitis. A cut-off level of 1.5-fold higher than normal was useful for the exclusion of pancreatitis, while a cut-off level of threefold higher than normal was more specific, so as to target potential preventive therapies. Conclusions: The 4-h post-ERCP amylase level is a useful test to base management decisions on. It needs to be interpreted in conjunction with clinical assessment as well as identifiable risk factors related to the patient or the procedure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)923-926
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Amylases
  • Cholangiopancreatography
  • Endoscopic retrograde
  • Pancreatitis

Cite this