An ERCP test is a procedure used to diagnose pain of the upper digestive system. A small, flexible tube with a camera attached is inserted down a patient’s throat while he or she is sedated. The camera is used to find anything wrong in the stomach, pancreas, esophagus, gallbladder,or other organs involved in the digestive system.
What is it?
During an ERCP test, an endoscope is inserted down the patient’s esophagus into the duodenum. Once the endoscope has reached the duodenum,a dye is injected and an X-ray of the patient’s pancreas and stomach is taken. This test is performed when there is pain in the abdomen, yellowing of the skin, or when a CT scan shows masses in the area.
|What should I do to prepare?
Patients should not consume food eight hours prior to the procedure and may need to avoid certain dietary supplements. Patients should also talk to their doctor about the medications they are taking and should avoid taking aspirin or other blood thinners before the procedure. Patients should arrange for a ride home post-procedure, as the patient will be given sedatives and will be unable to operate a vehicle.
|What happens during the process?
During the procedure, the patient will have their throat sprayed with numbing solution to prevent the patient from gagging. Patients will also receive sedatives through an IV. The sedatives usually put the patient to sleep during this procedure, but that is not always the case. The patient lays on an X-ray table while the endoscope is fed through the esophagus. After the endoscope reaches the duodenum, the doctor injects the dye and takes the X-rays. Patients may feel some discomfort when the dye is released. The patient will be monitored for a couple of hours until the sedative wears down. The patient may feel a sore throat in the following days. Doctors will usually have results available the next day.
|What are the risks and potential complications?
Risks for an ERCP test include pancreatic inflammation, allergic reaction to the sedative, perforation of the esophagus, stomach or duodenum, and infection.
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