Getting Ready for ERCP
What is ERCP?
ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography) is a test used to look at your bile duct and/or pancreatic duct. It can help to diagnose problems of the pancreas, bile ducts, liver, and gall bladder. During this exam a tube is passed through your mouth, esophagus (food tube), stomach, and the first part of the small bowel. A small plastic tube is then threaded into the ducts, dye is given, and x-ray pictures are taken. Treatment can also be done at this time. Treatments allow us to:
- Enlarge the bile duct opening.
- Remove gallstones lodged in the bile duct.
- Place a stent (drain) in the duct.
- Take a biopsy.
Important – Read 1 week in advance.
Procedure may be cancelled if instructions are not followed
1. 7 days before, you should stop taking the blood thinner Effient® (prasugrel).
2. 5 days before, you should stop taking:
- Blood thinners, such as Coumadin® (warfarin) or Plavix® (clopidogrel).
3. 2 days before, you should stop taking the blood thinner Pradaxa® (dabigatran).
Blood thinning pills should never be stopped without discussing this with the doctor who prescribes it for you. The doctor will give you instructions on how to safely do this. Contact us if you have questions.
4. Diabetic medicines (oral and insulin) will need to be adjusted for the time you’re not eating as normal. Please discuss this with your primary doctor.
5 You must have an adult to drive you home or your exam will be cancelled. You may take a cab or bus home only if you have a responsible adult with you other than the driver.
6. Plan ahead. For your test you will be given sedatives which can greatly affect your judgment. On the day of your test, you will not be able to drive or return to work.
7. Our staff will need to review your health history, prior surgeries, allergies, and medicines taken. Please bring this information with you.
8. If you use CPAP or BiPAP for sleep apnea, please bring it with you. We will need your machine in order to sedate you safely.
9. If you have an implanted pacemaker or defibrillator, we will need specific information about it before your procedure day. If you haven't already given us this information, please call us during business hours (8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday) at (608) 263-8097. Ask to speak to the Procedure Coordinator
Day of the ERCP
- No solid food, milk, or dairy products today.
- You may drink clear liquids until 4 hours before you arrive (i.e., water, apple juice, soda, Gatorade®). Avoid red liquids. You must stop drinking all liquids for sedation to be given safely.
- Take your normal medicines with a small sip of clear liquid up to 1 hour before you arrive. Do not take the pills and supplements mentioned under “Getting Ready.”
- Follow the arrival and registration instructions in your cover letter. If you are delayed, call us at (608) 263-8094 to let us know you are going to be late. If you are over 30 minutes late, we may have to cancel and reschedule. We do our best to stay on time.
- Plan to be with us about 3-5 hours. Your driver will need to be available in our waiting room or by phone.
Blood work will often be drawn shortly after you arrive. A nurse will review your health history and place an IV. The IV is used to give you medicines which make you feel drowsy and relaxed during your test. You will be placed on an x-ray table on your stomach for the exam. If there is a chance that you are pregnant, we will need to know this before using the x-ray machine. The test will take about 1 hour.
You will then go to our recovery room for about 1 ½ hours. Your driver may sit with you there. Once awake, you may be given something to drink. Sometimes patients will need to stay in the hospital for the night.
Your doctor will discuss results with you before you go home. You and the doctor who referred you will receive a copy of the report.
After the Exam and for the Rest of the Day
- Do not return to work.
- Do not drive.
- Do not use hazardous machinery.
- Do not make any important decisions.
- Plan to rest.
- Do not drink alcohol.
You should be able to resume normal daily tasks on the day after your exam.
You may have a mild sore throat. Salt water gargles should help.
You will be asked to stay on a liquid diet for the rest of the day.
You may have some gas pains from the air used to distend your stomach. If you belch, you will expel the air and relieve any gas pains.
How to Contact Us
GI Procedure Center, 7:00 am to 5:00 pm, (608) 263-8094.
After clinic hours, this number will give you the paging operator. Ask to speak with the GI doctor on call. Leave your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back.
If you live out of the area, call 1-800-323-8942.
The Spanish version of this Health Facts for You is #6595.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 10/25/2011
Copyright © 10/25/2011 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#4516
Print Health Fact For You