ERCP - Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangio Pancreatography

ERCP - Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangio Pancreatography

What is an ERCP?

It is a test that allows the endoscopist to diagnose and treat problems with the tubes (ducts) draining the gallbladder, pancreas, and liver (the drainage routes of the liver are known as bile ducts).




To do this test an endoscope (a thin flexible tube approximately the size of a women’s index finger) is passed through your mouth, through the stomach and into the duodenum (first part of the small intestine). Once in the duodenum a catheter (a thin plastic tube) is passed through the endoscope and into the opening of the pancreatic duct and bile ducts.

X-ray dye is gently injected and x-ray pictures are taken. These problems would normally have been picked up by either an ultrasound, CT scan, MRCP, or MRI scan.

Preparation for the examination

  • The day before the ERCP you will need to have a blood test and medical assessment. These b l o o d tests are dependent on the requirements of your consultant.
  • You will be asked not to eat or drink for several hours before the test. Your Pre assessment Nurse will advise you when to begin this period of nil by mouth.
  • If you are a diabetic or haemophiliac, please phone Spencer Private Hospitals for specific advice.
  • If you might be pregnant please inform us as soon as possible.
  • If you are taking warfarin, clopidogrel, or other blood thinning medications please inform us as soon as possible.
  • If you have a pacemaker, ICD or other implant device, please inform us at least one week before the test.
  • Continue to take your medications with a sip of water. Please bring a list of them with you to the unit.
  • If you have any queries about your medication please ring Spencer Private Hospitals. It is especially important to remember to bring any asthma inhalers or angina sprays with you.
  • Please remove your nail polish and all types of false nails before attending for your procedure.
  • Please bring with you your dressing gown, slippers, and something to do during your stay.
  • Do not bring any valuables to the unit.
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