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Surg Endosc. 2010 Jul;24(7):1701-6. doi: 10.1007/s00464-009-0832-5. Epub 2010 Jan 1.

Is outpatient ERCP suitable, feasible, and safe? The experience of a Spanish community hospital.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Hospital Severo Ochoa (Leganés), Madrid, Spain.



We wanted to evaluate the safety of outpatient endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). The follow-up of an ERCP outpatient during a short observation period could be a feasible and safe approach.


To evaluate the safety of outpatient ERCP, we assessed the rate of post-ERCP complications found and missed during a 6-h observation period after therapeutic ERCP.


We performed 236 ERCPs on an outpatient basis, with a failure rate of 3.7% but with an overall completion rate for the intended treatment of 90.7%. Seventy-eight percent of the ERCPs were primarily therapeutic. The age of the patients was 63.9 years and 61.9% were females. One hundred seventy-seven (74.5%) patients were discharged from the hospital after the observation period. Thirty-three (14.1%) patients were admitted without further delay due to unexpected ERCP findings or for early detection of complications. Twenty-seven (11.4%) patients had a prolonged hospital stay because of complications during the observation period. Just two patients previously discharged developed later complications: cholangitis and pancreatitis (0.84% of the ERCPs and 7.4% of the overall complications). There were 27 ERCP complications (12.1%). Of the overall complications, 29.6% were diagnosed very early after the procedure and 62.9% were diagnosed during the observation period. 8.9% out of the 12.1% of the ERCP complications were mild to moderate. There was no mortality.


Twenty-five (92.6%) of ERCP complications occurred during the first 6 h, making the use of this short observation period safe for an early discharge. The evolution of the patients who developed delayed complications was unremarkable. Whenever outpatient ERCP is feasible, it should be done to help cut costs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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