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Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 1998 Sep;80(5):326-31.

Periampullary diverticula: consequences of failed ERCP.

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Department of Surgery, Nottingham City Hospital.


Periampullary diverticula (PAD) are associated with biliary disease and contribute to failure of endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), especially in elderly patients. The presence of PAD and causes of failure to cannulate the ampulla were noted in 1211 consecutive patients undergoing ERCP. Case notes of 100 consecutive patients with PAD were reviewed retrospectively. Overall prevalence of PAD was 9%. Prevalence was higher in patients > or = 75 years when compared with those < 75 years (19.2% vs 4.8%, P < 0.0001). Ampullary cannulation was successful in 62.4% of patients with PAD and 92.7% without PAD (P < 0.0001). Success rates were lower in patients with intradiverticular papillae than in those with juxtapapillary diverticula (38.1% vs 77.6%; P < 0.0001). Of 19 patients with PAD who did not have any imaging other than ultrasound, 16 were asymptomatic over a median follow-up of 20 months. Biliary surgery was performed on 35 patients, with no major complication. PAD are a major cause of failed ERCP. Failure rates are higher in patients with intradiverticular papillae than juxtapapillary diverticula. Though a large proportion of patients not imaged remain asymptomatic on follow-up, it is difficult to predict which patients may form this group. Surgery, when indicated, is safe and effective in elderly patients in whom ERCP has failed.

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