Background and study aims: Patients with suspected or documented sphincter of Oddi dysfunction (SOD) who undergo standard biliary sphincterotomy have high rates of post-procedure pancreatitis. Approximately 75% of such patients have elevated basal pressures of the pancreatic sphincter. Biliary sphincterotomy (BES) on its own leaves the pancreatic sphincter unablated and may cause transient edema which aggravates the increase in pancreatic sphincter pressure. Combined pancreaticobiliary therapy (PBR), using pancreatic stenting in addition to sphincterotomy may therefore be safer. Patients and methods: The endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatography (ERCP) database was queried for patients with successful double-duct sphincter of Oddi manometry (SOM) who underwent BES alone or PBR between 1994 and 1997. The endoscopist had decided on the technique to be used. From 1995 to 1997 there was a general trend to do PBR. Pancreatitis was defined according to established criteria. Results: The post-ERCP pancreatitis rate among all 436 SOD patients was 19.7%, while 256 patients with normal SOM results had a pancreatitis rate of 12.9%. The use of combined PBR was associated with a lower frequency of pancreatitis compared with BES alone (needle-knife over pancreatic duct stent, 14/131 patients, 10.7%; pull-type pancreaticobiliary sphincterotomy plus pancreatic stent, 15/78 patients, 19.2%; BES alone, 52/184 patients, 28.3%). Episodes of moderate and severe pancreatitis were seen more frequently in the BES group. Conclusion: In SOD patients, post-ERCP pancreatitis rates remain high, but have improved with the addition of combined pancreaticobiliary sphincter therapy.
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