ERCP Procedure | Norton Healthcare Louisville, Ky.

Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatogram (ERCP)

What Is ERCP?

The ERCP procedure is a specialized use of the endoscope to examine and treat the drainage systems, or ducts, of the pancreas, liver and gallbladder.

It is performed while you are under sedation, and you’ll likely go home the same day as your procedure.

The ERCP procedure is helpful for diagnosing and treating the many conditions that affect the pancreas, liver and gallbladder and their drainage systems, including:

  • Gallstones that can become trapped in the bile duct
  • Blockage of the bile ducts, which can cause pain and jaundice
  • Abdominal pain
  • Cancer of the pancreas or bile ducts
  • Pancreatitis (inflammation, acute or chronic, of the pancreas)

The ERCP procedure requires skill and experience. Board-certified and fellowship-trained gastroenterologists at Norton Healthcare Gastroenterology have been performing the procedure in Louisville and Southern Indiana for years.

ERCP can be used with therapeutic endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) to effectively manage pancreatic biliary disorders nonsurgically. Depending on the findings of the ERCP, your physician may need to cut the duodenal papilla to help remove stones, place stents or improve drainage of bile or pancreatic fluid.

What Is Involved in an ERCP Procedure?

During an ERCP procedure, a specialized endoscope (a thin, flexible tube that allows the doctor to see inside the gastrointestinal tract) is passed through the patient’s mouth, through the stomach and into the duodenum, the first part of the small intestine.

At the major duodenal papilla, a part of the intestine which collects drainage from the common bile duct and pancreatic duct, a catheter delivers dye that provides high contrast on X-rays of the ducts.

Preparing for the ERCP Procedure

Your physician will provide you with instructions you will need to follow in the days before your procedure. Following these instructions is essential to limit surgery risks and provide the best results.

Make sure your providers are aware of all medications that you are taking, especially the following:

  • Plavix (clopidogrel)
  • Effient (prasugrel)
  • Brilinta (ticagrelor)
  • Ticlid (ticlopidine)
  • Coumadin (warfarin)
  • Eliquis (apixaban)
  • Aggrenox (aspirin/dipyridamole)
  • Pradaxa (dabigatran)
  • Persantine (dipyridamole)
  • Xarelto (rivaroxaban)

We will advise you to discontinue or adjust your dosage of these medications. We may have you consult with your primary care physician or cardiologist prior to your procedure. Also let us know of allergies that you have to any medications.

If you are using insulin, the dosage or timing will also need to be adjusted the day of the procedure.

Refrain from eating anything starting the midnight before your procedure is scheduled.

What Happens During an ERCP Procedure?

Typically, patients go home the same day as an ERCP procedure. The ERCP procedure is performed with you lying prone (face down) and typically takes 30 to 40 minutes to complete.

You may be given antibiotics during and after the procedure to prevent infection. A suppository medication may be administered while you are sedated to prevent pancreatitis after the ERCP.

After you recover from sedation, your physician will give you a preliminary report of the procedure. Final results of biopsies will be available in several days.

Due to the effects of sedation, patients are instructed not to drive, operate machinery or make important decisions for the 24 hours following ERCP. You will need to arrange for someone to drive you home. Some patients may have a temporary sore throat after the procedure; over-the-counter anesthetic lozenges can soothe symptoms.

You will be able to eat after you leave the hospital, unless instructed otherwise. Start with clear liquids, then bland foods before adopting a special diet. The nursing staff will review these and other important instructions before you go home.

Call your physician if you get a fever, have trouble swallowing or have pain in the throat, chest or abdomen.

If you are unable to keep your appointment or need to reschedule, call our office at (502) 896-4711 at least 48 hours prior to your procedure.

If you are going to be late for your procedure, call the hospital’s endoscopy department. If you are scheduled at Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital, call (502) 893-1277. If you are scheduled at Norton Brownsboro Hospital, call (502) 446-8200.

About Norton Healthcare Gastroenterology

  • We have more than 10 providers and more than seven board-certified gastroenterologists and experienced nurse practitioners.
  • Norton Healthcare gastroenterology specialists have been serving Louisville for more than 30 years.
  • The Norton Center for Abdominal and Digestive Surgery is a partnership between Norton Hospital and the University of Louisville and is led by a team of surgical oncologists.
  • Our specialists have offices in St. Matthews, on the Norton Brownsboro Hospital campus, in downtown Louisville and in Clarksville, Indiana.
  • Colonoscopy on-demand service allows you to skip an initial consultation before this potentially life-saving procedure.
  • Saturday appointments for colonoscopies can fit your busy schedule.
  • We provide specialized treatment of gastrointestinal and liver diseases.
Overall – 1234

Colonoscopy prep options: They’ve gotten easier

Maybe you’ve heard a story that you’ll have to drink some kind of awful-tasting liquid, and then you’ll be in the bathroom all day and night. Maybe you’re afraid colonoscopy prep will be so bad […]

Read Full Story

African Americans at higher risk for colorectal cancers, but screenings lag

According to the American Cancer Society, African Americans have the highest rate of death and the shortest rate of survival for colorectal cancer. In fact, African Americans are 40% more likely than other groups to […]

Read Full Story

Is an at-home colon cancer test right for you?

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges, including delays in some health care visits. That’s why at Norton Healthcare, we’ve made it easy for you to take control of your health from home. For those […]

Read Full Story

Alison Sharpe, D.O.: A relationship approach to gastroenterology

Gastroenterologist Alison Sharpe, D.O., is the first to acknowledge her approach to medicine may sound a little corny, but she is sincere. She wants to treat every patient the way she’d treat a member of [...]

Read Full Story

Weekend colonoscopy might have saved the life of family man and car buff

Steven Michael Kane will never forget June 23, 2018. It was a Saturday. Mike, as family and friends know him, was getting a screening colonoscopy. He felt great and had no reason to worry, or […]

Read Full Story
Related Stories

Colonoscopy prep options: They’ve gotten easier

Maybe you’ve heard a story that you’ll have to drink some kind of awful-tasting liquid, and then you’ll be in the bathroom all day and night. Maybe you’re afraid colonoscopy prep will be so bad […]

Read Full Story

African Americans at higher risk for colorectal cancers, but screenings lag

According to the American Cancer Society, African Americans have the highest rate of death and the shortest rate of survival for colorectal cancer. In fact, African Americans are 40% more likely than other groups to […]

Read Full Story

Is an at-home colon cancer test right for you?

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges, including delays in some health care visits. That’s why at Norton Healthcare, we’ve made it easy for you to take control of your health from home. For those […]

Read Full Story

Alison Sharpe, D.O.: A relationship approach to gastroenterology

Gastroenterologist Alison Sharpe, D.O., is the first to acknowledge her approach to medicine may sound a little corny, but she is sincere. She wants to treat every patient the way she’d treat a member of [...]

Read Full Story

Weekend colonoscopy might have saved the life of family man and car buff

Steven Michael Kane will never forget June 23, 2018. It was a Saturday. Mike, as family and friends know him, was getting a screening colonoscopy. He felt great and had no reason to worry, or […]

Read Full Story

Search our entire site.

Schedule an Appointment

Select an appointment date and time from available spots listed below.