How Long After ERCP Can Pancreatitis Develop (And Why)?

How Long After ERCP Can Pancreatitis Develop (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 6-12 Hours

ERCP is the abbreviated form of Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography is a medical technique or a procedure where the use of endoscopy is utilized along with fluoroscopy so that doctors could diagnose and treat certain conditions or problems of the pancreatic ductal systems.

The whole procedure of ERCP is performed by a skilled and specially trained gastroenterologist. Pancreatitis can develop or is suspected in patients who develop pain within the next six hours after ERCP. However, the chance of developing pancreatitis after completing 12 hours post-ERCP is less likely to happen.

How Long After ERCP Can Pancreatitis Develop

How Long After ERCP Can Pancreatitis Develop?

Patients developing pain within six hours post-ERCPThe patient suffering or experiencing pain within six hours can be suspected of developing.
Identification of Post-ERCP PancreatitisPatients experiencing certain symptoms must develop pancreatitis.

A person suffering from acute pancreatitis will show various symptoms. However, this is the condition that is one of the most common and feared complications. The mechanisms that could lead to pancreatitis after ERCP can be complex in nature and is not easy to understand.

The pathogenesis might be multi-factorial post-ERCP that might include a combination of chemical factors, hydrostatic factors, enzymatic factors, mechanical factors, and thermal factors. However, not all patients undergoing ERCP procedure might not develop pancreatitis post-ERCP because it becomes difficult for doctors to predict whether the patient will develop pancreatitis or not.

But, if the patient shows certain symptoms then it means that the patient has developed pancreatitis post-ERCP. There are three criteria for the diagnosis of acute pancreatitis. The first one is abdominal pain that is consistent with the diagnosis, the second one is that the serum amylase is more or greater than the upper limit of normal.

Pancreatitis Develop

The third criterion is cross-sectional imaging that is also consistent with the diagnosis. However, if two of the criteria are used then it would lead to the diagnosis of acute pancreatitis in most patients. However, in most patients, it might not be accurate because even post-ERCP many patients have two of the above-mentioned criteria but in the absence of acute pancreatitis.

Why Does It Take That Long After ERCP For Pancreatitis To Develop?

The detection of acute pancreatitis is not an easy task for doctors. However, patients with a high risk of developing pancreatitis will meet certain criteria and thus in those cases, the pancreatitis is detected.

Experiencing some pain after ERCP might also mean that the large volume of air has insufflated during the procedure. Along with the pain, there is a chance of asymptomatic elevations in the amylase occurring following an ERCP.

However, patients should be aware of the risk factors for post-ERCP for developing pancreatitis and in most cases, an ERCP should be avoided in the first place itself. There are several risk factors that has been assessed in various studies and that includes patients, procedure, and operator-related factors.

Pancreatitis Develop

It is best that you consult with a doctor about the risk of developing pancreatitis because you might have a high risk of developing that post-ERCP. In case, you have a high risk of developing acute pancreatitis then you should avoid ERCP.

In general, doctors have come to a conclusion that if the patient is more likely to have an abnormal common bile duct or a pancreatic duct then that patient is less likely will develop pancreatitis post-ERCP. There are several studies done on this and it has been proved to be true.


In the end, you want to keep yourself out of dangerous illness at all possible means. Try to maintain a healthy lifestyle so that you do not suffer from any kind of complications. Most people due to their bad habits like smoking and drinking habits always has to suffer from one disease to another.

You should consult with a doctor if you are experiencing constant pain or some similar kinds of things. Ignoring a small symptom could be very dangerous because that might lead to a big issue later on. Consult or visit a doctor as soon as possible even if the problem seems to be small and make sure you keep a regular health check-up maintained for you and as well as for your whole family.   


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