Conservative management of duodenal perforation following endoscopic sphincterotomy

Chee Fook Choong, Suresh Chari, Ian Norton, James Lawrence Cowlishaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Overall endoscopiC retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) complication rates of 4-10% and mortality rates of 1.5% have been reported. For those patients who fail conservative therapy, a mortality rate of almost 50% has been reported. This has led some authors to recommended early operation in all duodenal perforations. We report two cases of duodenal perforations following endoscopic sphincterotomy. Perforation was suspected immediately post-ERCP in one case and, in the second case, perforation was evident during ERCP and a biliary stent was inserted. Both of the patients were managed conservatively with bowel rest, nasogastric suction, analgesia and intravenous antibiotics. Although abdominal XR and CT showed extensive intraperitoneal and retroperitoneal gas, both of the patients made an uneventful recovery without surgical management. Based on our experience and literature review, routine surgery is not required in patients with duodenal perforations following endoscopic sphincterotomy. Surgery should be considered in any patients with clinical signs of sepsis, abscess or fluid collection in the retroperitoneum or peritoneum, documented ERCP perforation with cholelithiasis, choledocholithiasis or retained hardware. There are currently no strong data to support the benefits of early routine surgery and management should be tailored individually according to the patient's clinical condition and response to therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)168-171
Number of pages4
JournalDigestive Endoscopy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2005


  • Conservative management
  • Duodenal perforation
  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
  • Endoscopic sphincterotomy
  • Surgical therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Gastroenterology


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