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Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2009 Dec;21(12):1351-7. doi: 10.1097/MEG.0b013e328305e175.

Consenting patients for endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography: results of a survey of 182 UK endoscopists and 2059 of their patients.

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterology, Royal Liverpool University Hospital, Liverpool, UK.



To describe the endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) consent process.


A prospective, multicentre study of ERCP, supplemented by questionnaires administered to participating endoscopists and their patients.


A total 165 of 182 (91%) endoscopists completed a questionnaire describing personal practice with 140 of 165 (85%) routinely providing written information to patients; 120 of 165 (73%) routinely acquiring verbal consent on the day of ERCP; 23 of 165 (14%) delegating acquisition of consent to another team member and 59 of 165 (36%) usually/always describing alternative treatments to patients. Types of complication disclosed (and percentage of incidence quoted) varied significantly. A total of 2059 of 4561 (45%) patients completed the questionnaire following their first recorded procedure, at a mean of 11 days post-ERCP. Most (1968/2059; 96%) patients were satisfied with the explanation provided; they understood why ERCP was recommended (1935/2059; 94%) and recalled being informed of complications (1745/2059; 85%). Regression analysis of first-ever (nonurgent) ERCP suggested that patients were more likely to recall being informed of risk (odds ratio; 95% confidence interval) if they were younger (1.04 per 5-year decrease, 1.02-1.05), had an American Society of Anesthesiology score of less than 3 (2.0; 1.18-3.4); or had verbally consented more than 1 week in advance of ERCP (2.41, 1.02-5.71, when compared with those who consented on the day of ERCP). After ERCP 964 of 2059 (47%) patients were warned of specific symptoms that could arise.


The ERCP consent process could be improved by consistent disclosure of risk, acquisition of verbal consent well in advance of the procedure, provision of information after ERCP and increased attention to older and more sick patients.

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