Endoscopic approach to acute pancreatitis

Timothy P. Kinney, Rebecca Lai, Martin L Freeman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


This review focuses on the use of endoscopic techniques in the diagnosis and management of pancreatic disorders. Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) has been used primarily to evaluate and treat disorders of the biliary tree. Recently, endoscopic techniques have been adapted for pancreatic sphincterotomy, stenting, stricture dilation, treatment of duct leaks, drainage of fluid collections, and stone extraction via the major and minor papillae. In patients with acute and recurrent pancreatitis, ERCP carries a higher than average risk of post-ERCP pancreatitis. This risk can be reduced with the placement of a prophylactic pancreatic stent. Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) can establish the anatomy of the biliary and pancreatic ducts, identify pancreas divisum or pancreatic ductal strictures, depict bile duct stones, and demonstrate pancreatic or biliary duct dilation. Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) provides a safer, less invasive, and often more sensitive measure for evaluating the pancreas and biliary tree, and allows some options for therapy. In acute and recurrent pancreatitis, EUS and MRCP can be used to establish a diagnosis; ERCP can be reserved for therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-135
Number of pages17
JournalReviews in Gastroenterological Disorders
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2006


  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography
  • Endoscopic ultrasound
  • Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography
  • Pancreatitis


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