Randomised clinical trial: MRCP-first vs. ERCP-first approach in patients with suspected biliary obstruction due to bile duct stones.
Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2013 Sep 11;
Authors: Bhat M, Romagnuolo J, da Silveira E, Reinhold C, Valois E, Martel M, Barkun JS, Barkun AN
BACKGROUND: The preferred initial investigation with either magnetic resonance (MRCP) or endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) in patients with suspected biliary obstruction remains controversial in many clinical settings.
AIM: To assess the effectiveness of an initial MRCP vs. ERCP in the work-up of patients at moderate likelihood of a suspected biliary obstruction.
METHODS: Patients with an unconfirmed benign biliary obstruction, based on laboratory and ultrasound findings, were randomised to an ERCP-first or MRCP-first strategy, stratified by level of obstruction. The primary outcome was the occurrence of a disease or procedure-related bilio-pancreatic adverse events within the next 12 months. Secondary outcomes were the number of subsequent bilio-pancreatic procedures, duration of hospitalisation, days away from activities of daily living (ADL), quality of life (SF-36) and mortality.
RESULTS: We randomised 126 patients to ERCP-first and 131 to MRCP-first (age 54 ± 18 years, 62% female, 39% post-cholecystectomy). In follow-up, 18/126 (14.3%) ERCP-first and 25/131 (19.1%) MRCP-first patients experienced a procedure- or disease-related complication (P = 0.30) (disease-related in 13 and 18 patients, and procedure-related in 5 and 7 patients respectively). A cause of biliary obstruction was found in 39.7% vs. 49.6% of patients (P = 0.11). Sixty-six (50%) patients in the MRCP-first group ended up avoiding an ERCP in follow-up. ERCP-first and MRCP-first patients were away from usual activities for 3.4 ± 7.7 days and 2.0 ± 4.8 days respectively (P < 0.001).
CONCLUSION: A strategy of MRCP-first decreased the need for subsequent MRCPs, but not complications. Further study is required to define factors influencing the eventual use of MRCP vs. ERCP in appropriately selected patients (ClinicalTrial.gov: NCT01424657).
PMID: 24024705 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]