Clinical Practice
Copyright ©2013 Baishideng. All rights reserved.
World J Clin Cases. Apr 16, 2013; 1(1): 19-24
Published online Apr 16, 2013. doi: 10.12998/wjcc.v1.i1.19
Endoscopic papillary balloon dilation for difficult common bile duct stones: Our experience
Maddalena Zippi, Isabella De Felici, Roberta Pica, Giampiero Traversa, Giuseppe Occhigrossi
Maddalena Zippi, Isabella De Felici, Roberta Pica, Giampiero Traversa, Giuseppe Occhigrossi, Unit of Gastroenterology and Digestive Endoscopy, Sandro Pertini Hospital, 00157 Rome, Italy
Author contributions: Traversa G and Zippi M made a substantial contribution to the study conception and design; De Felici I and Pica R were involved in the acquisition, analysis and interpretation of data; Traversa G and Zippi M were involved in drafting the article and revising it critically for important intellectual content; Occhigrossi G gave the final approval of the version to be published.
Correspondence to: Maddalena Zippi, MD, Unit of Gastroenterology and Digestive Endoscopy, Sandro Pertini Hospital, Via dei Monti Tiburtini 385, 00157 Rome, Italy.
Telephone: +39-6-41433310 Fax: +39-6-41735005
Received: December 21, 2012
Revised: February 12, 2013
Accepted: March 21, 2013
Published online: April 16, 2013

AIM: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of endoscopic balloon dilation (EBD) performed for common bile duct (CBD) stones.

METHODS: From a computer database, we retrospectively analyzed the data relating to EBD performed in patients at the gastrointestinal unit of the Sandro Pertini Hospital of Rome (small center with low case volume) who underwent endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) for CBD from January 1, 2010 to February 29, 2012. All patients had a proven diagnosis of CBD stones studied with echography, RMN-cholangiography and, when necessary, with computed tomography of the abdomen (for example, in cases with pace-makers). Prophylactic therapies, with gabexate mesilate 24 h before the procedure and with an antibiotic (ceftriaxone 2 g) 1 h before, were administered in all patients. The duodenum was intubated with a side-viewing endoscope under deep sedation with intravenous midazolam and propofol. The patients were placed in the supine position in almost all cases. EBD of the ampulla was performed under endoscopic and fluoroscopic guidance with a balloon through the scope (Hercules, wireguided balloon®, Cook Ireland Ltd. and CRE®, Microvasive, Boston Scientific Co., Natick, MA, United States).

RESULTS: A total of 14 patients (9 female, 5 male; mean age of 73 years; range 57-82 years) were enrolled in the study, in whom a total of 15 EBDs were performed. All patients underwent minor endoscopic sphincterotomy (ES) prior to the EBD. The size of balloon insufflation depended on stone size and CBD dilation and this was performed until it reached 16 mm in diameter. EBD was performed under endoscopic and fluoroscopic guidance. The balloon was gradually filled with diluted contrast agent and was maintained inflated in position for 45 to 60 s before deflation and removal. The need for precutting the major papilla was 21.4%. In one patient (an 81-year-old), EBD was performed in a Billroth II. Periampullary diverticula were found only in a 74-year-old female. The adverse event related to the procedures (ERCP + ES) was only an intra procedural bleeding (6.6%) that occurred after ES and was treated immediately with adrenaline sclerotherapy. No postoperative complications were reported.

CONCLUSION: With the current endoscopic techniques, very few patients with choledocholithiasis require surgery. EBD is an efficacious and safe procedure.

Keywords: Choledocholithiasis, Endoscopic balloon dilation, Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, Endoscopic sphincterotomy, Mechanical lithotripsy

Core tip: Choledocholithiasis is frequently found in the adult population. Endoscopic sphincterotomy (ES) is considered the standard therapy for the treatment of this condition. However, several complications are associated with ES. Endoscopic balloon dilation (EBD) is actually recognized as an alternative to ES for the extraction of difficult bile duct stones. Reading the literature, we have found that most of the studies use small diameter balloons (6-10 mm), while the ones using larger balloons (from 12-20 mm) are rare. The aim of this retrospective study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of large EBD performed for common bile duct difficult stones.