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Study examines radiation dose estimates for pregnant women undergoing therapeutic ERCP
Date:4/28/2009

OAK BROOK, Ill. April 28, 2009 Pregnant women with gallstone disease may require immediate endoscopic intervention because of potentially life-threatening cholangitis (infection in the bile ducts) or gallstone pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas). The radiation exposure in endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), which is used to treat these conditions, is a concern because fetal tissues are more susceptible to radiation injury. Researchers from Greece found that the radiation risks associated with ERCP procedures are not trivial and that accurate fetal dose estimation is now available regardless of patient body size, operating parameters, equipment used and gestational stage. The study appears in the April issue of GIE: Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, the monthly peer-reviewed scientific journal of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE).

Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography is a specialized technique used to study and treat problems of the ducts that drain the liver and pancreas. To reach the ducts, an endoscope is passed through the mouth, beyond the stomach and into the small intestine (duodenum). A thin tube is then inserted through the endoscope into the common bile duct and pancreatic duct connecting the liver and pancreas to the intestine. A contrast material (dye) is injected through the tube outlining those ducts as X-rays are taken. The X-rays can show narrowing or blockages in the ducts that may be due to a cancer, gallstones or other abnormalities. Radiation exposure is of obvious concern as developing fetal tissues are more susceptible to radiation injury.

During pregnancy, the most common indication for ERCP is treatment of choledocholithiasis (gallstones in the common bile duct). The occurrence of choledocholithiasis can reach up to 12 percent of the pregnant population and increases with gestational age. Given that symptomatic gallstone disease increases the risk of morbid
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Contact: Anne Brownsey
abrownsey@asge.org
630-570-5635
American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
Source:Eurekalert

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