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What is the full form of ERCP in Medical

ERCP: Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography

ERCP stands for endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography. This medical examination known as endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography makes use of an endoscope and X-rays.

ERCP Full Form in Medical

An endoscope is an illuminated flexible tube with an in-built camera. This endoscope is also known as a scope and is about the thickness of your index finger. It passes through the mouth and into the stomach and the first section of the small intestine, known as the duodenum. The doctor then inserts a very small, flexible plastic tube through the scope and injects a dye that is visible through X-rays. The liver, pancreas, gallbladder, and bile ducts are all examined and treated through ERCP by gastroenterologists, and medical professionals who are specialized in gastrointestinal medical diseases.

When to perform ERCP?

ERCP is used by doctors to evaluate and treat problems in the pancreatic and bile ducts. ERCP may be performed when the doctor suspects pancreas or liver disease, or a problem with the bile ducts. Individuals may also need ERCP to determine the cause of abnormal results of a blood sample, MRI Scan, or Chest X-Ray is used to rectify a problem found during one of these tests. Therefore, ERCP can aid the doctor in determining whether individuals require treatment or not and if so then which kind of treatment is to be followed.

Some of the major reasons for performing ERCP are listed below:

  • Cancer and stones in bile ducts
  • Cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder) and gallstones (stones in the gallbladder).
  • Pancreatitis in the pancreas (swollen pancreas), pancreatic cancer, and pseudocysts and cysts.


  • Breathing problems
  • Chest pain
  • Fever
  • Clinical signs of infection
  • Extreme abdominal pain
  • Dry cough
  • Rectal bleeding symptoms include dark, foul-smelling stool
  • Puking

How do patients prepare for ERCP operation?

The patient should read the pre-procedure instructions provided by the doctor carefully. Patients before undergoing an ERCP operation should do the following:

  • At least 6 hours before the surgery the patient should avoid eating, drinking alcohol, and smoking.
  • Any allergies must be reported to your doctor, especially any past history of allergic reactions to intravascular contrast dyes. You might need to take allergy drugs prior to the surgery if you've already experienced a reaction.
  • Update the list of prescription drugs and dietary supplements taken and give it to the doctor.
  • Patients should seek confirmation from the doctor before taking blood thinners such as aspirin and warfarin.
  • In conditions like pregnancy, doctors should inform that anaesthesia can be harmful sometimes for the development of a baby in the mother's womb.

Procedure for ERCP

ERCP Full Form in Medical
  • ERCP is normally done as an emergency operation, which indicates the patient could go home the same day. During a diagnostic ERCP operation, the doctor will use an anaesthetic spray to numb the throat. This process may take up to 2 hours.
  • The doctor inserts the endoscope into the mouth of the patient and guides it through the oesophagus and stomach to the upper portion of the small intestine. After that air is pumped through the endoscope into the stomach and duodenum to make organs visible.
  • The doctor then uses a catheter. Through this catheter, a special dye is injected. This is a different tube, into the endoscope which is used until it reaches the bile and pancreatic ducts.
  • As the dye travels through the ducts, the doctor takes video gastrointestinal X-rays which is known as fluoroscopy. The X-rays look for signs of clogging or other issues.
  • The doctor may use an endoscope to insert tiny instruments to remove stones that must be broken up.
  • Different devices are used to open up clogged or narrowed ducts.
  • Blood tests are performed on tumours or tissue samples.

What should be done after ERCP?

The endoscopic operation may cause throat itchiness. Individuals might be prescribed to consume liquid foods for 1-2 days till the pain goes away.

Just after an ERCP, individuals may experience digestive issues because of swollen sensations caused by the pumped-in air and dizziness which can be an anaesthesia side effect. With the doctor's approval, individuals should be able to return to work and perform normal activities.

Risks or complications of having an ERCP

Some individuals are allergic to the dye used during the X-ray procedure. In such cases, the doctor will prescribe medication to prevent the reaction as soon as possible. Other uncommon but life-threatening complications include:

  • Infection of the gallbladder or bile ducts
  • Pores in the stomach, ducts, or small intestine
  • The pancreas is swollen and inflamed
  • Inner continuous bleeding which may lead to death

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