Incidence and Cross-Continents Differences in Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography Outcomes Among Patients With Cirrhosis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Saqr Alsakarneh, Fouad Jaber, Khalid Ahmed, Fares Ghanem, Wael T. Mohammad, Mohamed K. Ahmed, Mohamad Khaled Almujarkesh, Thomas Bierman, John Campbell, Yazan Abboud, Muhammad Shah Miran, John H. Helzberg, Hassan M. Ghoz


Background: There are conflicting data on the frequency and variability of endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) outcomes in patients with cirrhosis. Our aim was to systematically review the literature on the incidence of post-ERCP adverse events in cirrhotic patients and to examine the differences across continents.

Methods: We searched PubMed/MEDLINE, EMBASE, Scopus, and Cochrane databases to identify studies reporting adverse events after ERCP in patients with cirrhosis from conception to September 30, 2022. The random effects model was used to calculate odds ratios (ORs), mean differences (MDs), and confidence intervals (CIs). A P value < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Heterogeneity was assessed using the Cochrane Q-statistic (I2).

Results: Twenty-one studies that included 2,576 cirrhotic patients and 3,729 individual ERCPs were analyzed. The pooled overall rate of adverse events after ERCP in patients with cirrhosis was 16.98% (95% CI: 13.06-21.29%, P < 0.001, I2 = 86.55%). ERCPs performed in Asia had the highest ERCP adverse events with an overall complication rate of 19.90%, while the lowest overall adverse events were in North America at 13.04%. The pooled post-ERCP bleeding, pancreatitis, cholangitis and perforation were 5.10% (95% CI: 3.33-7.19%, P < 0.001, I2 = 76.79%), 3.21% (95% CI: 2.20-5.36%, P = 0.03, I2 = 42.25%), 3.02% (95% CI: 1.19-5.52%, P < 0.001, I2 = 87.11%), and 0.12% (95% CI: 0.00 - 0.45, P = 0.26, I2 = 15.76%), respectively. The pooled post-ERCP mortality rate was 0.22% (95% CI: 0.00-0.85%, P = 0.01, I2 = 51.86%).

Conclusions: This meta-analysis shows that the overall complication rates after ERCP, bleeding, pancreatitis, and cholangitis are high in patients with cirrhosis. Because cirrhotic patients are more likely to have post-ERCP complications, with significant cross-continent variations, the risks and benefits of ERCP in this patient population should be carefully considered.

Gastroenterol Res. 2023;16(2):105-117


ERCP; Liver cirrhosis; Meta-analysis; ERCP complications; Adverse events

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