Home ERCP What are specific preparations for your ERCP?
What are specific preparations for your ERCP?

Your doctor will want to know if you have any allergies, or general health problems (e.G. Heart, lung or kidneys) which might effect your response to ERCP and its treatment.  The contrast dye contains iodine.  If you have had allergic reactions to iodine (or shellfish), the doctors may wish to take special precautions against dangerous reactions.  When doctors suspect a bile duct or pancreas blockage, they may recommend starting antibiotics before ERCP.


If there is any possibility of treatment during ERCP (especially cutting or sphincterotomy), the doctor will want to make sure that your blood can clot satisfactorily.  Thus, it is important for you to report if you (or close family members) have had any major bleeding problems, and whether you are taking any medicines to reduce blood clotting (especially anticoagulants such as coumadin).  Aspirin and nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (nsaids) can effect blood clotting. They should be avoided for one week prior to the procedure, and afterwards if treatment has been performed.


ERCP is performed with sedation, which means that you will not be able to drive until the next day.  Make sure a friend or relative is available to take you home.  Be aware that you may need to be admitted to the hospital after the ERCP, either because observation is needed after an ERCP treatment, or because a complication has occurred.


You will need to have an empty stomach when the ERCP is performed, so have nothing to eat or drink for at least six hours prior to the test (apart from a small sip of water to help you swallow any essential regular medications).  Do not take antacids, which can obscure the stomach lining.


The physician will review the procedure with you and ask you to sign a standard consent form.  This authorizes your doctor to perform the test.  Please read this and be sure you understand it to your satisfaction.  Be sure you have all your questions and concerns answered by the doctor before signing it.  You will put on a hospital gown, and will need to remove any eyeglasses, contact lens or dentures.  An IV tube will be placed into a vein in your arm, and fluids will be given to prevent dehydration during the test.  During the ERCP the IV line will also be used to administer sedative medicines to make you relaxed and sleepy. General anesthesia is sometimes used.