Background: The significance of pediatric endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) according to age or disease variation is inconclusive. This study aimed to evaluate the usefulness of pediatric ERCP in diagnosing or treating small children with pancreaticobiliary disorders, including choledochal cyst (CC) and biliary atresia (BA).
Methods: From 1980 to 2011, 235 ERCPs were performed in 220 pediatric patients (median age, 2 years) at our institution. Underlying pathology was CC in 92 patients (3 years), BA in 62 patients (55 days), and others in 66 patients. Success and complication rates, and ERCP findings were retrospectively analyzed.
Results: The overall success rate was 96%. Rates for individual pathologies were 99% for CC, 92% for BA, and 96% for others. The success rate was 100% among children >3 years, but 92% when limited to infants. Post-ERCP hyperamylasemia and duodenal perforation occurred in 9% and 0.4% of cases, respectively. Regarding preoperative evaluation of the pancreaticobiliary system in CC, ERCP clearly delineated pancreaticobiliary maljunction (79%) and the pancreatic duct (94%), whereas it visualized the common bile duct and intrahepatic bile duct at relatively low rates (77% and 33%, respectively). ERCP successfully identified 16 cases (18%) with non-BA of 90 patients with suspected BA. Moreover, ERCP demonstrated only pancreatic duct in 70% of all BA.
Conclusions: ERCP among children including infants with CC and BA can be performed with fairly satisfactory results. Although pediatric ERCP can also help describe the pancreaticobiliary system in detail, its indication should be deliberately considered when anatomical information from less-invasive imaging modalities is insufficient.