ANN ARBOR, Mich.—A study in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine shows a serious complication of ERCP—a procedure commonly used to diagnose and treat problems of the bile and pancreatic ducts—may be eliminated with a single dose medication.
The finding is significant in helping patients avoid a condition known as post-ERCP pancreatitis, a disabling complication that affects up to one in four high-risk patients who undergo the gastrointestinal procedure.
Despite decades of research, this clinical trial is the first to clearly demonstrate effective prevention of post-ERCP pancreatitis.
The trial ended early after an interim analysis showed clear safety and benefit for the first 600 patients enrolled. The findings are already changing clinical practice.
“ERCP is a very important procedure that can provide life-saving interventions for people who need it, although it is considered the most invasive of all the endoscopic procedures and it does have risks associated with it," said lead study author and gastroenterologist B. Joseph Elmunzer, M.D., assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan Health System.
Post-ERCP pancreatitis is a sudden swelling and inflammation of the pancreas that costs an estimated $150 million a year to treat.
According to the study, hospitalizations for pos