Background and Aims: Several methods with variable efficacy have been proposed for difficult biliary cannulation in ERCP. We assessed the comparative efficacy of different strategies for difficult biliary cannulation through a network meta-analysis combining direct and indirect treatment comparisons. Methods: We identified 17 randomized controlled trials (2015 patients) that compared the efficacy of different adjunctive methods for difficult biliary cannulation (needle-knife techniques, pancreatic guidewire-assisted technique, pancreatic-assisted technique, and transpancreatic sphincterotomy) either with each other or with persistence with the standard cannulation techniques. The success rate of biliary cannulation and the incidence of post-ERCP pancreatitis (PEP) were the outcomes of interest. We performed pairwise and network meta-analysis for all treatments and used Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation criteria to appraise quality of evidence. Results: Low-quality evidence supported the use of transpancreatic sphincterotomy over persistence with standard cannulation techniques (risk ratio [RR], 1.29; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.05-1.59) and over any other adjunctive intervention (RR, 1.21 [95% CI, 1.01-1.44] vs pancreatic guidewire-assisted technique, RR, 1.19 [95% CI, 1.01-1.43] vs early needle-knife techniques, RR, 1.47 [95% CI, 1.03-2.10] vs pancreatic stent-assisted technique) for increasing the success rate of biliary cannulation. No other significant results were observed in any other comparisons. Based on the network model, transpancreatic sphincterotomy (P-score,.97) followed by early needle-knife techniques (P-score,.62) were ranked highest in terms of increasing the success rate of biliary cannulation. Early needle-knife techniques outperformed persistence with standard cannulation techniques in terms of decreasing PEP rate (RR,.61; 95% CI,.37-1.00), whereas both early needle-knife techniques and transpancreatic sphincterotomy led to lower PEP rates as compared with pancreatic guidewire-assisted technique (RR,.49 [95% CI,.23-.99] and.53 [95% CI,.30-.92], respectively). Conclusions: Transpancreatic sphincterotomy increases the success rate of biliary cannulation as compared with persistence with the standard cannulation techniques. Early needle-knife techniques and transpancreatic sphincterotomy are superior to other interventions in decreasing PEP rates and should be considered in patients with difficult cannulation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging